Author(s): E. J. Osborne
Hatchet + Bear Spoon Carving demonstrates how with three basic tools - an axe and two knives - you can shape a small tree branch into a simple, honest utensil. But while the process is relatively simple, the effects of this craft are profound. EJ describes the experience of carving a spoon as 'medicinal'. With every group of students, he has witnessed how the act of whittling, peeling and shaving wood is absorbing and meditative; minutes turn into hours while the spoon carver becomes absorbed in the making process and surrenders themselves to the joy of slow living. As well as information on tree identification to ensure that you are working with the recommended fresh green wood from hardwood species, EJ gives advice on harvesting and storing wood. He explains the few tools that are needed for spoon carving and how to use them safely when working the key techniques - including chopping, splitting, planing, shaving, cutting.
Once you are confident with the woodworking skills, you can progress to the projects chapter where full instructions are given for making five different utensil types, starting with the simplest spatula, cooking spoon and hanging jar spoon, before moving on to a coffee scoop and then finally graduating on to the bent-branch spoon.
EJ Osborne studied Product and Furniture Design at university, which led him to the realization that he did not want to design products for mass manufacture that would simply add more 'stuff' to an already overburdened planet. After a career break to start a family, in 2011 EJ started to get the 'maker's itch'. It was an itch to make something soulful and meaningful, which led him to spoon carving. To EJ, carving spoons felt so good that he now does it all the time. And runs workshop to share his passion with like-minded makers. EJ's spoons have been stocked in Anthropologie and in 2014 he gave a TedTalk on his work.