Yesterday I spent the afternoon carving spoons and spatulas and talking to people in our Penrhyn Castle workshop. Today I made wooden cutting boards from oak today, too. Adults come through my workshop, 4 years ago we had 350,000 visitors to the castle, so that’s quite a few. Anyway, seeing a man take a piece of scrap wood from an old cupboard long gone and carve a spoon means something to them. Because my life is real, somehow it conveys a stability they may have never seen before today. Their nostrils fill with the essence of wood for no machine breaks the quiet of my hand tool sphere of work and they seem suspended in a sort of momentary awe as they wander between the furniture pieces and the displays of work.
I am sorry that they can’t see some of the work I have done in the past, I suppose that substance will remain in the homes and buildings I may never see again. Three of my designs are in President Bush’s home, two in the Cabinet Room of the White House; part of the White House Permanent Collection there. Here I am in North Wales carving spoons for people who know nothing of my work elsewhere and I wouldn’t change a thing. I love showing them how I carve a wooden spoon from an oak cupboard using a gouge. It takes me an hour to complete and rub in the oil ready to sell. I taught my sons to carve spatulas like these when they were three years old, spoons when they were five and that was their beginning working wood.
An oak spoon sells for ten pounds. Not a lot for an hours work but what matters is that someone gets to use something I made for a lifetime. I have sold hundreds and hundreds of spoons and spatulas over two decades. Lost track. It was a great day in the Real Woodworking this weekend.