The original Spoon club was held in my static caravan in Herefordshire on a winters day a couple of years ago. Will (who looks like a caveman and has a spaniel that can't keep secrets) was going to come round and we were going to carve spoons. He brought with him a whole bunch of sausages and his puppy. I don't remember much about the day but we went and chopped down a field maple tree with a chainsaw and i had no ear defenders on, I remember thinking this would have been better with a hand saw, anyway we got back carved some spoons ate a whole load of sausages and I had a general feeling of this is brilliant lets do this again.
Spoon Club grew into something that happened every Saturday, everyone knew that I had open house on Saturday and people would come round, the general idea being that it was purely a social event based around carving of spoons, lots of tea and coffee and a pan of sausages. Friends would come round with tools and wood, though ideas were passed around and skills shared passively, there was no formal teaching, no one was "in charge" it was just a gathering of people doing stuff they loved. We would sit around my static caravan which seated 8 or so around the woodburner and carve and chat. I am hugely indebted to those that came to Spoon Club as it helped me through a difficult time. I am particularly grateful to Ben and Lois who were staunch supporters of Spoon Club, and the other regulars Toby, Ali, Pete, Maurice, and obviously Will thanks guys.
It'll come as no surprise, seeing as most of you are crafters, that being sat around as a social group creating folk craft is a truly beautiful thing. It is just something that feels completely right. In my opinion it is one of those things we were created to do, it is a shame it's missing from many peoples lives.
You will probably know about the quilting movement, affectionately known by some as "stitch and bitch" groups, where friends meet in each others houses and sew together. Quilts are beautiful folk craft, like spoons they are something that everyone still needs and use on a daily basis, and who wouldn't rather have a hand made quilt than a lifeless one from a factory? the most beautiful part about quilts is they are a mix of old fabrics where part of a dress/curtain/etc may have worn through a small section of the good stuff is saved and these are sewn together in a mosiac, so not only is the quilt beautiful in it's own right but the owner may recognise the fabrics which gives the Aesthetic a depth that can't be bought.
I hope you will forgive me but I always promised myself I would take things a bit more seriously when I reached thirty and that has happened today! (11/11/11) I'm on a mission to get a hand carved wooden spoon into every household in the country, and i hope you will join this mission. If i could carve all of them myself i would but although i would love to be a Spoonillionaire i don't think this is possible. If each town had a spoon club going then we certainly would be able to do it. I want people to have that same empowered feeling i get when i create beautiful practical utensils using simple tools, the tools we have been using for thousands of years but seem to have turned our back on in the last century.
It won't seem strange for me to suggest that times are changing, the whole cultural environment we live and work in has shifted as much in the last ten years as any other decade in our history. As we move into the future big organisations will become larger like they always do with more levels of complexity. I am not against this, but i am certainly for the indiviual, far from cowering under the shadow of corporations we should flourish under their canopy, and it looks like we are! I think we are entering a new age of Folk Craft and Artisan Craftsmanship, it is my hope we embrace this, and my personal wish that Wood carved with axes and knives is part of that movement.
Like the last couple of years i will be travelling around carving spoons from around April , i would dearly love to visit some "Spoon Clubs" along the way, if you would like any advice on how to set up a spoon club please get in contact. I will also be getting spoon club up and running in Bristol, so this is an open invitation to any other spooners out there to come along.