MADE London, wooden spoons next year perhaps?

Fresh from a trip to MADE London this weekend, head teeming with ideas of how to take my business a step further. One such step would be to take my spoons, bowls and other woodenware to this fantastic show next year.

The way my girlfriend and I go about making the most out of these shows now is to have a look at all the stalls at a glance, marking down as we go who we would like to take our time and see more closely and chat to the maker. It mean we spend time with everyone who grabbed our attention on all the floors.

Situated in what used to be and old church there were 4 floors with a selection of high quality designer makers.

It was the perfect opportunity to chat to makers about there work and the show itself . I received some first hand advise from makers who were showing for the first time and who have entered every year.

One such maker was Dove St Pottery who bought some of my spoons for his displays a couple of years ago, and they still look great together. David of Dove St Pottery met me at one of my early craft fairs which only had about 20 stalls. His work has come along way, and I’m very grateful for his help along the way.

There was the usual, jewellery, ceramics and fabrics. However it was encouraging to see woodwork there along with willow and cane weaving, mosaics and leather work. Also something which i thought was a nice touch, a small cinema showing short film of makers and there processes. For Ruth Glasheen this was her first MADE London show and she had all the nerves and excitement I know I will have if I get accepted for next years show. One element to her space, which only caught my eye after we’d been catting for a bit was the cardboard display, which was also the boxes she carried the work in one the train. It certainly doesn’t look out of place and gives the work all the focus. Transport is often considered when going to shows as I’m usually on a bicycle. So Like Ruth everything you carry for display has to be light and fit in panniers and a backpack. Up on the ground floor was Anne marrie O’sulivan’s willow work. she was the final person we had made a specific effort to chat with as her work is not only beautiful and well made but we especial liked her willow ladles. she also had some great advise after having done many of the MADE’s before.

Making a living from craft is not easy, needing to be the marketing department, manager, and creative director along with everything else. So i’m very grateful to all the people who have believed and invested  in someone perusing there passion. And perhaps I’ll be one of the makers at MADE London next year. fingers crossed.

finally thank you Tutton & Young for a great show and great crafts.


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Woodland Pioneers

A few weeks ago I spent a week camping in a lush little woodland in Cumbria as part of the four one day workshops For my first trip to Woodland pioneers. I’ve had many friends attend and some who run workshops, so it was great to see what why everyone liked it so much.

Day 1 for our group of 6 was round wood stool making with Lorna Singleton. Although I’ve made stalls before there were still many new things I picked up, like weaving with sisal for the seat.

Day 2. riven oak panel with with Owen Jones. There were more things to lean on this day than any other, but now our group had gotten to know each other better so were able to have a good laugh among all the work and learning.

Day 3. Treen with Twiggy. Treen is something I do all the time however I knew there would be much to learn from someone as experienced and lovely as Twiggy. Like perfecting my gypsy rose techniques and how to store the wood to be able to get really strong petals.

Day 4. Coppicing with James Benson from leeds coppice group and Sam Ansel.

didn’t manage to take any pictures for this one unfortunately as it was a really lovely site.

The final day we had the option to choice from a list of different half day workshops, which included blacksmithing, besom brooms, rope making, willow weaving, spoon carving and sharpening. i had a go at the blacksmithing and willow weaving which was great fun and learnt a lot.

I shall certainly be back next year for one of the other courses!


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Spoonfest 2015

As with last year it seems I have come away from Spoonfest with ever more excitement about new ideas for spoon carving.  Just seeing all the other carvers work up close is incredibly more valuable than images on the net. For me, buying spoons with certain aspects that I would like to try out on my spoons, can sometimes be as valuable as booking onto one of the festival short courses. That way I’m able to constantly refer to any part of the spoon and if I don’t understand how a certain cut was achieved then it’s fun to discover through practice and experimentation.

Something else I’m excited to try more of is Magnus Sundelin’s freestyle chip carving. He did a great demo on the weekend and although I’m not so into the geometric style, (it’s a little dry for me) the more natural and free styles of Magnus, Jane and Anja look like fun. I’ve just bought a hand forged blade from Magnus so I can have a knife designed for the job as although my mora is adequate, it has limitations. I’ve got some ideas that could be really good fun, like chip carving little animation scenes into the handles of large spoons. so once the knife arrives I’ll be experimenting lots!

Not only was there spoon carving, but we were also treated to April Stone Dahl’s demo of ash splint baskets. From gathering and pounding, to prepping and weaving. I have tried it once before but after chatting with April discovered my mistakes. So, you know what else I’ll be doing in the coming weeks ;D..

Returning back from the site to Leeds after all the raking of wood chips and dismantling the fires I certainly had the post-festival blues of not being surrounded by all the lovely woodworking folk, but what this year has stirred in me again is to connect with as many people who are interested in carving as possible.



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DIY crowd fund to get a table at TORM

It seemed it might not be easy to crowd fund for only £90 and I was right. The minimum it was possible to CF is £500, so i thought why not cut out the middle man and do a DIY fund on FB. Only having  three days to raise the funds I was nervous, however after the sun had set on the first day the idea was well received and all seemed well on its way to making the money I needed to get a place at The original re-enactors market. This particular market would be my first three day event and would see hundreds of people come through there doors. In return for a £5 donation was a spatula engraved with ‘thank you’. for £10 was a long handled yoghurt/ice-cream spoon, both these were discounted prices for this DIY CF.

After the three days were up I feel very honoured to have such wonderful friends who were so ready to support me, along with a few I had not met also donated. Now I had enough money to sign up for the fair along with some extra to pay for travel and food! woohoo!

Inspired by the support I squirreled away in the workshop and MADE MADE MADE!

I decided to stay with a Couch Surfer Mathieu from France, he helped me from where my bus landed to his flat. The first day setting up I was very excited, so many traders and everything looked great. It’s always a bit tense the first hour of any event but after the first sale I told myself to relax and enjoy the people and simply learn from whatever happens. Traders and customer alike were all so kind and generous. Some of the other regular traders mentioned that Robin Wood used to be a trader at this event many moons ago which was encouraging.  I hope to do it again in November if if possible. good times!

Thanks to all who gave donations, you’re amazing!

other fairs I’d like to attend as a trader are MADE London and MADE Brighton however these are £350 and £500 to have a stand. so perhaps I’ll be calling on the kindness of folk once again 😀

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This is the kit Limited edition spoons

As some will already know the name 2carvedspoons derives from a line in a beautiful song called  ‘two wooden spoons’ by ‘This is the kit’. when first starting out as a full time crafts person a little over four years ago I made two cooking spoons from one birch log just before hearing this song. Then about a year later  feeling my spoons might be of a quality to be able to sell I decided on 2carvedspoons as the business name.

Over the last couple of years I’ve seen them play and gotten to know Kate the lead singer, so when I heard she would be coming to Leeds I thought I’d ask Kate if she would be into selling  small batch of limited edition spoons at the gig. She seemed totally up for it! A special twist was that a friend of mine along with my Girlfriend Emma would be one of the support acts. How exciting!

The finished spoons, along with Kate taking a cheeky Instagram of them.

Not normally someone who engraves spoons these were great fun to do and like my spoons the engraving had a function as well as an aesthetic. The final one was sold on the French leg of there tour. They all sold at only £18 each.


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A visit to Hockerton Housing Project

A few weekends ago myself and about 9 others went down to the Hockerton Housing project near Nottingham to help out with planting a new hedge, making a living willow hedge and some thatching. If you’re driving past the site it would be almost impossible to even know it was there, like a hidden haven HHP is built into the ground so it can’t be seen from he road. Not being seen from the road was one of many conditions for the build. This is a brief over view about the place and my time there.

A friend Luke who grew up at HHP and still often returns to help out and visit his parents. Luke gave a talk about a lot of the sustainable elements to the project which have been going since the late 90’s. Here’s  a nice short video on there site giving an overview of what there about.

It is such an exciting place to be, we were lucky enough to have beautiful weather for the weekend which was helping to warm the house because its so well insulated all heating comes from sun,body heat and cooking heat so had to make sure all the doors were shut asap after entering or leaving rooms but once all 10 of us were in the house it soon got very toasty and warm. Any other energy come from solar or wind and all the water is taken care of on-site as well. To better understand exactly how I recommend a visit as they run tours for people interested.

growing up here seems to have given Luke a natural drive to explore his surroundings by playing with things in his environment like building a thatched round house. If only more children and adults had the time and space to play and explore like the people living in Hockerton Housing Project. I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to see and help out with what there doing.

I’m now hoping to stock some HHP spoons for the project, made from trees going on the site then sold in the visitors centre which I’m very excited about as it’s such a pleasure to make spoons from a specific place esp one as beautiful and environmentally educational as this one.  Then to sell them there just seems to complete the cycle from Tree to spoon,bowl or anything else.

AND THIS IS THE FIRST HHP SPOON! made from a discarded bit of Hazel.

P.s there is a wonderful house for sale atm. check out there site for details.

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Before the long shadows and long nights

Before winter arrived I felt like a floating seed in the air, reaching out to other spoon makers in the UK and further afield. One reason was because I felt a in need of something different, something out of my comfort zone. This I hoped would be what I needed to push me further in my skills as a spoon maker. Another was I felt i’d almost been working in a vacuum and just needed to see lots of different work and to explore other ways of making so as to be more in accordance with my own. The idea came after Spoonfest 2014, SPOON SWAPS! I had seen some of the great spoons people were swapping but at the time needed to sell as much as I could to pay bills. Each person chosen had something I liked and something I was unsure about in there work but pictures aren’t good enough when exploring 3 dimensions. I’ve learnt loads from carving my own versions of each spoon, non of which are intended as a direct copy. Tom LB from Essex. (beech)  This has a fantastic bowl for eating cereal, it glides through what ever i’m eating and has the lolly-pop feel in the mouth. however the handle doesn’t fit so comfortably in my hand.

my version in cherry

Amy Woodmungler in Sussex (blackthorn) wonderful overall balance to this one and like Tom’s had a great bowl this time for eating pasta although it’s not so dynamic in the profile. Also the cheeky little face on the handle is great fun.

my version of this has been sold so no images. next up is Yoav Elkayam from Israel (birch) it works a treat for cooking and small serve-ups, similar to a welsh crawl spoon, the octagonal handle makes it very light and easy to use but the bowl could be a bit thin and may even end up cracking in a few years time (I hope not).

my version in alder

Last up Jane Mickelborough from Brittany (cherry) bags of style and experience here, great piece of cherry and comes with a fan in the handle to help cool down the food. my favourite aspect is the profile which has some very swarve curves and facets going on. for me the handle is a little to wide and does tend to slip from my and when eating.

my version in spalted hawthon

I could say so much more about this little project and the spoons features but if anyone is interested then leave a comment. keep on spoonin!

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