Spoon Carving: The Gateway Drug

“Spoon carving has often been jokingly called the “gateway drug” into green woodworking – and for good reason. Often, after carving your first few spoons, the allure of other greenwood projects is hard to resist. Other cooking utensils are an obvious progression, but there are also carved cups and bowls, coat hooks from small limb crotches, and shrink pots. One of the beauties of green woodworking is its connection to the past, in which wood was the material of choice for everyday objects. Learning to make things that we use in our daily lives is a great feeling. We can drink our tea, hang our coats, or store dry goods for later use, in and with the wooden things we quietly made with our own hands.

But there is more to the growing popularity of green woodworking than affordability, readily available material, and challenge. There are social reasons too, beginning with the spread and acceptance of environmental stewardship ideals from the back-to-the-land movement in the 70s, recycling in the 80s, and organic-food labeling in the 90s. These developments have shaped our thinking, and now many of us want to know the origins of the things we buy, what these goods are made of, and who makes them. With the rise of the digital age, computers and other technological advances have influenced our educational systems and promoted science and engineering over the industrial arts programs of the past. As a result, most young people will no longer find themselves in shop or home economics classes. As a society, we rarely use our hands to create real, physical things, and many have been seeking to reconnect with what has been lost.”

– Jarrod Dahl, excerpt from “#thenewwoodculture” in Issue Seven, available here.


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