Last Wednesday I spent the day in the woods learning to carve spoons from Tim Gatfield at The Cherry Wood Project near Bath. I was inspired to take the workshop after my brief but memorable brush with Spoonfest in Edale last June while road tripping around the UK. The trip was supposed to be all about walking and wild camping – and in many respects it was – but many of the trip highlights were found on my rest days. Spoonfest was one of them – thank you Gloria Nicol!
I didn’t carve any spoons at Spoonfest, but I totally caught the buzz. Spoon carving en masse is an inspiring thing to behold. And it seemed a natural fit to my camping / walking / outdoorsy tendencies. And let’s face it, every good camper should know how to use an axe.
Back home I decided to treat myself to a spoon carving workshop on my local turf. I found out about The Cherry Wood Project through Chris Allen (a spoon carver I am grateful to have met through Spoonfest who makes awesome whale spoons).
The workshop with Tim left me wanting more – which is probably the best thing you can say about a day like this. I especially enjoyed getting to know the story behind The Cherry Wood Project, which you can read more about on their website. This excerpt from Tim is a good summary:
For many years I have had a keen interest in conservation, rural and craft skills, and living in a way that is more sustainable and sympathetic with nature. It had also long been a dream to own my own woodland, and I purchased Cherry Wood near Bath in 2005 with the intention of improving and managing the wood and setting up a ‘school’ to teach green woodworking skills to others, and pass on the pleasure of living and working in the woods. A previous career in the army has given me valuable knowledge of bushcraft and living outdoors, which I aim to pass on to students.
I came home with two usable spoons, a knife, a hook knife and one small knick on my thumb. Now all I need is an axe and you all can guess what you’ll be getting for Christmas this year.
This was a happy day in an inspiring and beautiful place, a day spent carving wood around an open fire, with many tea breaks and an ace lunch in view of their enviable clay oven. I plan to return very soon (they have volunteer days everything Thursday). There is much to learn here, and really great people to learn with.
You can see all of my spoon carving pictures on Flickr. Here are a few favourites:
Clay oven – me and my sourdough long for thee:
Crossfit skills finally being put to good use:
Many tea breaks: