I wanted to share with everyone some photos of my dearest spoon—my daily eater. It’s the spoon version of a daily driver car. It goes everywhere my food does.
I carved it several months back from a beautiful little black cherry crook. Like any spoon made from a crook, the design just sort of reveals itself once the wood is split. This design is mostly influenced from Swedish styles of spoons and has lots of curves and sweeps. And one small simple decoration—a pentacle.
The main reason I wanted to post about it is to tell a simple story of character. Since learning to carve spoons and quite frankly becoming obsessed with all things handmade, I’ve mostly ditched the habit of eating with metal utensils, and for that matter, with forks. Not that I have something against those things, but that eating or cooking with wood, and a wooden spoon in particular, has a magic to it. The soft warmth of the handle in my hand, the gentleness of the wood against my teeth, and the dexterity of scooping up my food whether it be soup, salad, or pieces of roasted meat or veg, not to mention the strange fun of licking the spoon clean after a nice meal. I’ve simply switched. And because of that, this spoon has seen unrelenting use 3 times every single day. I even pack it with me when I travel!
Such usage of a well made thing, and in my opinion the enjoyment or use of anything well made (especially handmade), develops a certain character in that thing. With my spoon it’s the shiny, dark patina on the bowl, the stories of when I stained it with wild blueberry jam or when a friends dog got to my plate when I stepped away, eating all of my food and nipping a chunk out of the front rim in the process (see the photos). Even all the way back to the day I sat down with an unsuspecting chunk of bent cherry wood and chopped and whittled away until it was revealed. My spoon has a life, a story. And with good care, that life will hopefully get passed on beyond even me, the story continually unfurling…
One recent experience got me thinking more about the whole culture that surrounds handmade wooden ware and the act of using them regularly—or more broadly, the culture of craft. I was visiting with my girlfriend and her family—who all own an eating spoon I made. They had all just started getting into the swing of just using a wooden spoon; learning how to scoop salad, pasta, anything. We were sitting at dinner one night when her father stops, looks down at his fork, then around to the rest of us with our wooden spoons, and says, “Wait, I just realized I didn’t have my spoon!”. We all chuckled as he got up looking for his spoon. It was as if he felt naked without the spoon or was sticking out amongst us with wooden scoopers. For me it was a gentle reminder of how powerful such a simple tool can be, not just for its function, but for the simple enjoyment of the whole process. It also reminded me of the fact that the culture of craft hasn’t died, it’s just been hibernating beneath the clutter of mass manufactured everything’s. A small reminder that the industrial way of living is breaking down and craft is again gaining traction as a more valuable way to live, and eat.
Here is photo of the spoon the day of its’ carving:
|The spoon and the other half of the crook it was inside of…|
|The spoon scooping up some delicious mid-summer cereal with mulberries, gooseberries, raspberries, wild blueberries, and black raspberries…|
And the spoon as of several days ago:
|Notice how dark it is from handling, washing, using, oiling. And the chunk nipped out by my friends dog…|
And it just gets better with time…