The Social Spoon Club

A place of creativity every week

In November of 2023, Jason and I had a shared idea. The miserable and grey nights making evenings dull and uninteresting prompted the idea of creating a group where we can sit by the fire, chat and drink tea, eat some biscuits and enjoy our down time. It’ll be so much better than watching the same stuff on the telly.

I can speak confidently on behalf of all of the Woodland Ways team when I say that we love teaching skills, and sharing knowledge and experience with others. It’s equally satisfying when we can also learn from others. Thus, Spoon Carving became the theme for this new club.

Each Wednesday evening since, we’ve met in the Barn, our office in Rowsley, Derbyshire. The kettle is hot and the shop rearranged. The fire lit and chairs circled to create an inviting place for people to join us with a shared interest and motivation. Each week we’ve had a brilliant group of individuals joining us at their convenience, with no obligation, no demanded payment, no contract or any other formal dross. It’s a Social Club, free to those who wish to attend, to spend an evening somewhere warm and light during the winter months, meeting new people and making something useful.

Now, some 6 months later, there have been some connections formed, new interests found and a lot of spoons crafted. There’s no strict rules on sticking to spoons, Kuksas, butter knives, spatulas and pendants too have been carved. We source some different timbers, and the members have taken to bringing their own from friends, family and allotments. We’ve seen Elm, Alder, Sycamore, Birch, Beech, Hawthorn, Walnut, Ash, Hazel, some burrs and some exotic species. Some people came to us with a lifelong experience of using tools to create, some had never held a knife, yet everyone feels that deep connection to this great hobby. The growth of skill among the members, and seeing members help each other and offer advice is a wonderful thing to see. There are some truly wonderful creations which I can share with you here.

Just some of the creations
Just some of the creations

We’re not the only company or organisation to do this. Indeed there is a UK wide club with a great website, there’s an annual Spoon Fest which we’ll be attending, and there are a host of other like minded groups and individuals who want to enjoy making something while in the company of others. Some might scoff at the idea of spoon carving being an evening’s entertainment, but for me at least, it’s a way to socialise with no obligations, and to yield something useful but beautiful. There’s the satisfaction we’re all familiar with when crafting something from a raw material, especially when it has been harvested sustainably and responsibly. I can heartily recommend finding your local group and heading along.

To make it as accessible as possible we even provide the tools. The Mora Companion, 120 Wood Carving Knife and Crook Knife are a great trio to get started with spoon carving. Budget friendly but fantastic tools, these will facilitate all you could want for with carving simple projects like spoons, not that they’re all simple! We have saws and axes to use, and we can offer advice on their use and maintenance. It’s not a formal session, we’re not there to teach, simply to facilitate. We ask a few quid towards keeping the kettle hot and milk in the fridge, but it’s not compulsory, we don’t want money to be a barrier.

As this blog is released, I’ll be just back from Canada on our Yukon expedition. The club still ran in my absence thanks to the efforts of two regular members, Angelina and Paul. It’s really interesting to note the variety of regulars we’ve accrued, some travelling considerable distance each week to join us in the shop. The life experiences, the occupational tales, the wisdom, advice and the jokes everyone contributes really make the club what it is. It’s certainly much more than just carving spoons.

From a mental health perspective, I think this is a great avenue for a lot of people to explore. The peace found when focusing on a carving project, the comfortable silences as the whole group works out their next cut, their next angle of approach, how the grain will react and dance through the piece. There’s only encouragement and positive atmosphere, and equality. No one was born carving spoons, and we all have something to learn. We do teach Spoon Carving Courses which focus on the safe use of the tools, the harvesting of the material, and liberating a utensil from a piece of wood. They’re truly a great course, and work well side by side with the spoon club, but neither one detracts from the other. They serve separate purposes, but with the same goal of introducing people to the joy of crafting. I hope this movement becomes more popular and allows more people to tap into what this group enjoys so thoroughly.

If you wish to join our club, or another local club, feel free to get in touch to find out more information.

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