Friends Charlene and Richard in Forest Grove let me sleep in their Garden while I was attending Aikido Summer Camp. They have converted their one-acre suburban lot into a beautiful permaculture garden and food forest that not only feeds them (and a local Latino family that uses part of it for their own market garden), but has also given them the means to develop an interesting educational program. They had talked to me about teaching spoon carving up there, so one evening they showed me their collection of spoons and kitchen utensils. One jar of spoons they had gotten from a friend who had traveled the world collecting beautiful things. The spoons all showed native craftsmanship that combined beauty and function — but one in particular I just fell completely in love with. Fortunately for me, their collection is big enough that they were willing to trade. Below are some photos of my favorite, as well as notes and an attempt to understand why I like it so much.
Click on the drawing or photo for a higher resolution file. The drawing should be pretty self-explanatory — I did it to better understand why I like this spoon so much. Design, to my mind, is not prescriptive but intuitive. If all we know (or teach, or learn) of design comes from drawings and measurements, we’ll never learn to see or trust thoseÂ relationships that just work, naturally. But when you find something that does work, naturally, it can help to examine (and even copy!) it analytically (more stories along these lines here).
This spoon appears to have been carved from a piece of branch wood roughly the same width as the bowl of the spoon. Charlene suggested it was boxwood: fine-grained, tight growth rings, and hard. It appears to have been finished by scraping — up close, you can see the long parallel faces that are too regular to have been carved, and too well- defined to have been sanded.
It’s a big spoon, but it’s easy and comfortable to eat with. Below I photographed it with my first attempts at copying, which are made of Lilac — not so deep, and not so nice.