Adventures in America

So you may have noticed a slight absence in my posting the last few weeks.. those of you following my father’s blog will know the reason for this, but for the rest of you – I’ve been travelling across the seas! Three long weeks staying with Jarrod Stonedahl in America. My first time over there! And wow what an experience.

I’m just starting to catch up on the sleep deprivation and sort through all the many pictures, and am very excited to share all of the adventures I’ve had with you, but for now, a few pictures and a couple of words to whet your appetites!

I’ve been just about keeping up with my 10 spoons a week, although as Jarrod pointed out it’s becoming a bit more of a forget about them all week and then hastily carve 10 spoons over the weekend….

Spoons finished while visiting North House Folk School
Carved at the Spoon Gathering, Milan!
And the last week, photographed on the building bed,
carved while finishing our birch bark canoe.
The Spoon Gathering, featuring ‘spoon club’, something
spoonfest attendees will know all about..!
‘yoghurt testing’, thinking about the intricacies of spoon design
Last but not least, our beautiful birch bark canoe, the main
objective of our trip, in her full glory,

And finally, keep your eyes open, I’ve created a new page where this beautiful pile of spoons will soon be starting to appear for your perusal..

Designing a Spoon

A look into my design process
Part 1?
When you’re is looking to making lots of spoons, it is inevitable that eventually you’re drawn towards narrowing down on specific designs. The reasons for this being twofold. Firstly because if you know a spoon inside out and exactly what cuts it take you to find that spoon inside your piece of tree it becomes immensely faster. The second being because it gives you the chance to refine your design. To iron out all the wrinkles and make it awesome for using and looking at.
At the moment I’m going through that process. Getting back into the spoon game. Trying to get my speed up and find my ultimate spoon.
I started by carving a bunch of spoons. Without much particular thought. Quite a slow process, because I’m not sure where I’m going. Just exploring.

Then I ask myself, which are my favourites? Which could I see myself carving over and over again, searching for spoon perfection?
The answer has already presented itself to me. One of my patterns has begun to repeat itself. What do I do now? I repeat it some more.

These three quickly joined the first. I allow some minor differentiation, not completely rigid in carving the same things every time. Then I can put them together and ask myself again – which is my favourite? Which one immediately jumps out at me? And why is that? What is it that I like about it which I should replicate?

At this point I often ask advice from any spoony friends or relatives as well. I’ll hand them all to them and ask them to pick a favourite. And tell me why.

The one in the middle jumped out at me this time. It took a while to work out why, but eventually I narrowed it down to the slight concave in the curves down the handle, and the not overly thin neck, plus the slightly wider top.

These next few haven’t dried or been oiled yet. I suspect they shall reveal more about themselves when they have been. For now I am happy to carry on. They’re consistently pretty good. If I carry on a way longer another spoon might leap out from the bunch and let me know where to develop – or avoid! -next.

These couple were from a bit of slightly shorter tree which didn’t quite want to end up as the others. So they deviated. I quite like them. Maybe some more might happen the same.

And last but not least, one thing that has jumped out at me about the latest batch, a steeper ‘kick’ at the end of the handle, inspired somewhat by Owen Thomasdolphin spoons, is emerging and feels rather nice to the hand. Another one to be explored..

I would love to see the rest of you go out there and develop some beautiful designs of your own, perhaps taking bits of influence from here and there, but ultimately developing something you can truly call your own. And maybe my words will have been of some use. I hope so. Let me know how it goes!

And maybe there’ll be more posts along these lines before too long, as my designs develop even further..

Giving things away and ‘chasing the idea’

A lesson from Jarrod Stonedahl.

Last year at spoonfest Jarrod said something to me which made my brain whir… it went something along the lines of –

‘when I make something I really like, sometimes I like to give it away. Because then I can chase the idea.’

It might have been because he was trying to get a spoon out of me which I didn’t really want to be parted with. I was never quite sure. But nevertheless the words stuck with me.

Memories can be in ways so much stronger than physical things. When you have a memory of something no new knowledge can change how you see it. You’ll always have that memory of the moment when you’d just seen or made the thing, and it was the most beautiful thing in the world to you.

If you hold onto that thing then over time as your knowledge grows you will realise it isn’t actually all that good, and now you know better you could make better.

But if you give that thing away, and just hold onto the memory, you can chase that memory forever, pushing yourself further along the road of improvement.

I gave him the spoon.

There it is, the big yellow-y on on the top right. In Jarrod’s collection amongst some other spoons you may recognise..

Anyway when I first came up with a makers mark and signed my first spoon I gave it away. To my wonderful friend and mentor Mike Abbott. And I’ve been chasing the idea ever since.

I’ve signed a lot of spoons, with a wide variety of speeds and qualities.. but I’m sure none of them are as nice as that first one I did!

10 Spoons A Week

..until Spoonfest 2014!

You may or may not have heard of Keith Matthews and his infamous 365 spoons challenge.. after Spoonfest 2012 he was so inspired he carved a spoon a day for a whole year..

Quite amazing really. I’m not sure many people could pull it off. I certainly couldn’t. 10 spoons a week, however..

It’s been something I’ve been fancying for a while, but never quite got round to committing to. There was always an excuse. Now I’ve actually succeeded for the past two weeks, so I’m telling the internet so I can’t back down!

Week 1 happened almost by accident. Enjoying myself sat out in the sunshine in the woods carving spoons and ooh would you look at that I’ve carved a dozen* spoons!

And if I’ve done it once, I can do it again.

For me, this is a challenge to my perseverance and motivation. I can have off days and not carve any spoons. But I still have to make time for spoons week in week out.

I’m hoping to do some more blogging about it too, I know I’ve been rather slack lately.. but this will be interesting for us all. See it as an insight into my design process. We’ll go into that further shortly….

*the astute among you may have noticed some discrepancy in numbers. There was another one which went to my darling Mother as a birthday gift, and one more which hid behind the sofa when I tried to photograph it..


These spoons are SOLD OUT!! Check out my shop with lots of new exciting goodies here.


Hello everyone, long time no see.

I have been busy busy and have finally accepted that I have too many spoons and simply must let some of them go on to homes where they can be loved and used. And so, spoons for sale.

Grouped into three categories – ‘large’, for big mouths and lots of yummy food; ‘medium’, middle sized eaters; and ‘small’, ideal for kids, getting into yoghurt pots, people who prefer a small eating spoon.. any number of things really!

If you’re interested in owning any of these beauties, post a comment below or send me an email at with the number of the spoon you want. Paypal is my payment method of choice, but I can also take UK cheque at a push.

Spoon #1 – SOLD
Birch, large eating spoon

Spoon #2 – SOLD
Birch, large eating spoon

Spoon #3 – SOLD
Birch, medium eating spoon

Spoon #4 – SOLD
Spalted birch, small eating spoon

Spoon #5 – SOLD
Birch, Small Eating Spoon

Spoon #6 – SOLD
Spalted birch, small eating spoon

Spoon #7 – SOLD
Spalted birch, small eating spoon

Spoon #8 – SOLD
Sycamore, medium eating spoon

Spoon #9 – SOLD
Spalted birch, medium eating spoon

Spoon #10 – SOLD
Spalted birch, small eating spoon

And that’s all for now! Hopefully I’ll have some more available soon. Flat rate of £5 shipping wherever in the world you are.

Teaching Spoons in Beautiful Edale

This time next week I shall be teaching workshops at Spoonfest. I thought it might be beneficial to have a little practise run on some family friends first. They were an interesting bunch, to say the least..

From left, Michael, Elara, Grace the knifemaker (I’ve mentioned her before!) and Miranda.

We started on axing, as that’s what I’m planning on teaching. It was a great group to practise on, a wonderful mix of capabilities and physical strengths. After a good practise session turning willow sticks into woodchips and stakes (useful for vampires and sisters, I’m told!), we got cracking on some spatulas. Or is it spatulae?

Usually I would prefer to use large diameter softer wood for first time spatulas, lime or willow or similar, but birch was what we had so birch was what we used! Mmmmm lovely birch…
Grace enjoying the Big Walloper.
I think we may have some potential Axe Women of Great Britain here, am I right?!
Miranda showing us how to use a BIG axe!
Michael had the pleasure of playing with my shiny little axe, he kept commenting on how lovely and sharp it was. A proud moment!

After we’d finished our axing the weather was starting to darken, so we moved indoors for a tea break and some knife work. And naturally, the sun came out.

Busy hard at work..
Grace was thrilled to get the cut working so nicely!
And the final products! From left, the model spatula, Michael, Elara, Miranda and Grace.

We only had half a day, but we had an wonderful time and I’m very proud of my students’ work. Michael left some lovely words on facebook which I hope he won’t mind me sharing –

I think we all had a wonderful morning learning something new. JoJo is a great teacher, she explains and demonstrates patiently, interferes when necessary (well, just when i was about to sever the artery in my leg) and introduced us step-by-step into the different safe techniques of handling the tools.

Spoon carving is a wonderful activity, requiring focus and dexterity while being meditative at the same time. And slowly over time a chunk of wood turns into a cultural artefact. With the beautiful scenery of Edale in the background I can’t imagine having a better time.

Thank you very much to my lovely friends for being my guinea pigs, and extra thanks to Grace for the pictures.

Sampling Spoonfest Birch!

Spoonfest fever is closing in. It’s becoming a whirlwind of chaotic excitement. A few days ago we kicked things off by going to collect some birch from a local woodland..

Earlier this year it had been thinned, and the thinnings left on the ground just WAITING for someone to come along and turn them into spoons! We are those people.

The birch woodland has a lovely story attached to it actually. It was planted many years ago by the very lovely local peak park ranger, Bill, who needed a snowbreak for his house – situated in a hollow just over the edge of the moors. It’s been the main source of birch for Robin‘s courses for the past few years.
This year Bill’s coming to Spoonfest to see what we’re doing with all his trees. If you see him you must say hello!

It wouldn’t do to let the masses at the wood without just checking to see that it’s okay (any excuse to play!), so I knocked out a few spoons. It’s beautiful, anyone coming to Spoonfest is in for real treat!

And a bit more ‘sampling’, just to check it was ALL okay…!

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