May 27, 2016

My First Carved Spoons

What does a girl do when she just can't sleep?

 She gets up  at 5 am 
(well actually 3, but my feet hit the floor at 5 am)  
and decides to do a photo shoot of her hand carved spoons.
Pardon any blur, but did I mention I only got 3 hours of sleep?!!
How does one go from mother of 8 to a spoon carvin' Mama?  

Well, I have loved old wooden spoons for awhile. I always look about to rescue another from the heap, but this came with a sudden interest in trees that lay by the side of the road and needed rescuing.  
(Do you see a theme in my life?  Haha)  

So girl tells her husband that she wants to carve spoons. 

 He cocks his head and says something like, "Really?" (in his head he was thinking, 'Don't we already own like 50?'  He has such a sense of humor, maybe I have 20). 

So said husband takes it upon himself to make a blank for the wife.  (Meaning he didn't want me to use the ax, as he likes my fingers as they are). Since this time I ventured to Brimfield Antique Show and bought myself I huge carving knife.  My homemade daughter says it is for gutting bears, the old man I bought it from was worried I had evil in my heart and made me promise I would hurt anyone with it.  To which I assured him I planned to only carve wood and never ever draw blood, not even my own if I could help it.

 I watched a few videos on YouTube.  Took the roughed out log which now if you squinted really hard could make out a spoon somewhere behind all that extra wood. And began to remove all the extra (mainly used a chisel, gouge and a homemade wooden mallet my Knight made me, from you guessed it, rescued wood).

Wallah...spoon #1 after 5 plus hours of chiseling and carving.  In the end I sanded her with 3 types of sandpaper in varying coarseness, then made a wood butter to slather on her,
 so she would be 'real purdy.'

I am in love with her.  She may not be perfect, but I took her out of a piece of wood that was chopped down by a tree service (now I never saw them, but I imagined they were sent in to trim up the trees for our safety).  I think she is a red oak.  On the list of woods NOT to begin with, but hey I am not a huge follower of rules. I like to make them as I go ;}

 She landed in our library parking lot during one of the last snowstorms and a tree service came and chopped her up and left her lying there all sad and lonely.  She was happy to see us coming!  My strong son  hoisted her into the tank of mine, that some refer to as a very large car, which is perfect for wood gathering. 

Spoon # two was trouble.  An experienced carver would have thrown her into the fire, but as you have guessed, I stuck it out, knots and all. (note to self, see knots and pick another piece of wood).  She is also some type of hardwood...oak?  I had a hard time reading her grains and kept hacking out pieces that were needed.  So she came out more like a spatula.  But though she is imperfect and perhaps ugly, I love her. 
(see her trying to hide behind my beloved #1?)

Look!  They make a heart when placed together...
okay I might be tired, but doesn't it look like a heart?
She really fits nicely into my hand and will make a nice mate to love #1.  Now I am working on spoon #3.  She should also go into the fire, as she has a worm hole and a knot too~ in her handle and bowl.  But I can't bear to quit on her, so I continue to work into hour 3 on her becoming a spoon. I mentioned her negatives to my Knight and he shrugged and said that it would give her character.

Spoon making isn't for the weak or timid.  You have to use knives, axes (yes I went and bought my own and then my man bought me a smaller one...haha), hook knives, chisels, wooden mallets...all sorts of beautiful woodworking tools. All new to me, but becoming a rather large collection.  

Ask me what I got for Mother's Day this year.  Tools!!  My son-in-love came in and was like, "Whoa, aren't you wanting jewelry or something more girly?' 

It also requires hours of time, and an eye to draw it out of hiding. A strong back is good too.  But I think this comes with the hours of time that goes into each new work of art. I have drawn blood, but nothing that needed more than a paper towel clean up.  I actually felt more like a woodworker after the blood incidents.

I feel like an artist as the spoons suddenly manifests from the log. They were hidden in there the whole time, but just needed a gentle coaxing to come out.

  I imagine it is like me as God continues to shape me into His image, never quitting and lovingly shaping, turning, a touch here, a bit more there and then carefully eyeing up rough spots that need to be honed to a smooth glass like finish.  A finish that reflects the Maker and in the case of my spoons, their maker.

They love each other ;-)

I am a spoon carver. 

 I can't wait to try new shapes, new woods, new tools, old tools and all the gadgets that my husband keeps picking up at the auction for me.  I think he loves that I am happy and that some of my pent up artist is coming out, even if it is 'spoons!' in his mind. Afterall, for years it was soap.

Did I mention that I am going to carve kuksa and bowls too someday?  But for now I will hone my spoon- making skills. And let me say, 4 children have had their hand at spoon carving now too.  Seems it may be contagious! I have so much to learn, looking at these pictures makes me think maybe I need to slather on a wee bit more spoon-butter onto my darlings.

I am a woodworker hear me roar!

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