"Just a quick message to thank you for the course on Saturday! It was an absolutely brill day and one that I took loads from - already started on another spoon using my Ben Orford knives which work great. Would love to be able to make SpoonFest but am abroad all of August - I'll have to take my tools with me! Anyway - great course, great instruction, great company - I will be coming to work with you again."
"I just wanted to say thank you for a great Saturday. I really enjoyed the course and I think I'm addicted - started on spoon no.2 today!"I always choose venues very carefully and I am very grateful to those that organise them. The Friends of Tower Hamlet Cemetery Park have always been incredibly supportive of my work and it now looks almost certain I will be residing in the East End of London for this winter, the 30 acre woodland that I have been running my courses from will house my workshop for the winter what an amazing opportunity for a full time Spooner, a beautiful wood where I can source my materials and axe out blanks within walking distance of the eager London Public going crazy for Spoons!
I have just one Course of my own planned for next year "Spoons from the Wood", I am very excited about this, as you will know I pride myself on taking my craft into Cities, but after a Winter in London I will want to be away from them. It's going to be a 6 day course at Mike Abbotts Living Wood this will be an amazing week. I asked Mike if I could use his place because it is one of my favourite places to be, and Mike is one of my favourite people, he has got to be the most experienced person at running woodland residential courses and it shows, his venue will be absolutely superb, with a beautiful open fire to relax around in the evenings, a giant Oak table in the woods to sit around for communal meals and try out some spoons! Just thinking about it is putting a massive smile on my face.
For a while I have been thinking about the very best way to teach my style of spoon carving. During this week I will cover all of the different knife grips that I use, I will teach advanced axing techniques, and everyone will carve a Bowl using an adze, this is fantastic because it is a great way to introduce adzing before needing the accuracy that you would need for a spoon, a bowl also gives a great understanding of the grain direction when hollowing, being the same as the bowl of a spoon but much bigger. I will be able to spend more time on wood selection and making Bent branch spoons. I will go into the complexities of advanced spoon design and there will be plenty of Spoon inspiration hanging around that you will be able to use during the week. Even a complete novice will be able to walk away with a bowl and several spoons, but those with more experience may wish to learn some of my production techniques, there is much scope for extension of your knowledge you will be able to take on as many projects as you like, including making ladles/kuksas/skrink pots, chip and letter carving, putting a hook on a spoon, using a twca cam, etc etc (if there is something in particular that you would like to do please let me know).
The teaching will be a mixture of demonstrations and coaching your individual projects. Each Day I will do a few specific short and snappy demonstrations for the whole group including sharpening all the tools we will use, whilst the rest of the time I will move between your workstations helping you individually, all within sight and earshot so you can learn from each others questions, discoveries and mistakes! a week is a perfect amount of time for a course in the woods, and I can't wait!
ps there will be singing in the woods.