Pricing: The value of a wooden spoon

value: a family’s “favorite wooden spoon,” made by an anonymous Haitian*, and sold cheap at an import store. It became the basis for another essay on value, and has become part of this one. On wooden spoons, wares, value, & money

Ideally, I’d sell wooden spoons and bowls directly, person to person. Buyers could handle things, see some of the process, chat, sign up for a class, build relationships — and burn less fossil fuel…. In the meantime, however, most folks start by looking for a price. How do I determine what’s right and fair? Scott and Helen Nearing famously reduced their economy to a simple equation: 4 hours a day for “bread labor” (which included selling produce from their farm, among other cash activities), 4 hours a day for “cultural labor” and the rest for cooking, eating, sleeping, cleaning, etc.…

cob ovens, spoon carving, & other workshops for 2019

May 18-19, cob oven workshop at the Artisan Baking Center in Petaluma California, details hereJune 22-23, cob oven workshop at the Prairie Mountain Folkschool in Joseph, Oregon, details hereAugust 17-18, A two day Greenwood Carving class (from simple to more complex), at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Otis, Oregon, details hereJune & August Greenwood Spoon Carving classes, dates TBA, Corvallis Art center, Oregon, details should be posted here soon!July 21-27 I’ll be teaching greenwood spoon-carving at Echoes-in-time, another primitive skills gathering just outside of Monmouth, Oregon. Like last month’s Acorn Gathering, it’s a wonderful week-long event where you can learn everything! …

Bushcraft weekend – spoons, baskets, fire! Sept 22/23

Sept 22/23: Learn basic bushcraft

Carve a spoon from greenwood, weave a cattail basket, make fire. Includes a wood-fired pizza potluck, and whatever other projects we can fit in around the evening fire.

Myron Cretney is a regular teacher and inspiration at primitive skills gatherings throughout the west. In addition to cattail and all the other things he knows how to do, Myron is really good at teaching friction fire with a hand-drill — he’ll help us light fires, and maybe make traps to catch some of the gophers eating our garden.

Kiko Denzer has spent decades teaching various crafts to kids and adults.…

2018 – Spoon Carving & other Workshops

Spoon Carving Workshops: April 29 – May 5, The Buckeye Gathering, I’ll be spoon-carving; others will be hide-tanning, fire-making, flint-snapping, and everything else May 8-14, I’ll be teaching a full week of greenwood at the post Buckeye pathways event: spoons, bowls, shrink pots, the lathe (foot-powered), decorative and sculptural work, tools, techniques, etc.. There may also be possibilities for tool-making w/Bryce Wood, a great smith who uses simple, minimal technology to make metal tools. June 2-3, two one-day classes at Wildwood View Garden in Portland, $75, Registration and info: potlatch@cmug.com or call 541-929-4301. June 9th, June 16, two one-day spoon carving classes in Corvallis.…

The Scything Handbook: Learn How to Cut Grass, Mow Meadows and Harvest Grain by Hand

The Scything Handbook is one more on a string of beautiful, helpful (and once common) pearls that can help save us from a debilitating fate as mere “consumers,” and restore us to our birthrights as participants in creation. Full disclosure here, I know the author Ian. We’re teaching a class together in Oregon this August (info and registration here), and I also wrote the forward to his book, which is brief, clear, and as simple as a clean cut with a sharp blade — an ideal starting place if you’re interested in giving up your stinky, noisy mowing machine and replacing it with an old-world scythe.…

2017 – Crooked knives for Greenwood; in April!

Crooked knives for Greenwood is an

introduction to bladesmithing and green woodcraft. I’ll be teaching it at Aprovecho Institute, in Cottage Grove, OR, April 4-8, 2018. Join us to learn how to make your own basic toolkit for all kinds of decorative and practical woodwork. We’ll start by forging the essential tool for carving spoons and bowls, a crooked or bent knife. In addition to new tools, you’ll go home with the knowledge to set up your own inexpensive, simple forge. We’ll learn about hardening/tempering, sharpening, knife use/grips/techniques, other bladed tools, principles of carving, sculpture, and design, discussion (and demonstration) of traditional and appropriate technologies, including the foot-powered lathe (which requires tools you forge yourself).…

Spoon Carving w/Lynn Rosetto Kasper on The Splendid Table

This spring, after my first spoon carving class of the season, I got a call from Lynne Rosetto Kasper, of the Splendid Table. She did a show about earthen ovens years ago, but wanted to talk spoons — Wow! What could be more fun?! I sent her some spoons and a pages of enthusiastic spoon notes…

But we needed a fancy sound room to do the interview; it took a few weeks of wrangling to schedule a time w/the folks at Oregon State U. in Corvallis. Ironically, the location was a brand new building called the Learning Integration Center. Tho it’s beyond me how they hope to “integrate” learning in what must be about the coldest, most sterile, flattest, deadest place you could possibly design.…

2016 – Spoon-Carving Classes or Why it’s good to carve your own spoon

This summer, I’ll be teaching three spoon carving classes, all on Saturdays: May 21 June 18 and August 20 Classes are hosted by friends Richard and Charlene at Nanacardoon, their wonderful 1.5 acre suburban food-forest/garden/learning ground. It was very popular (and fun) — we spend a day learning about wood and basic axe and knife techniques so that everyone can go home w/a spoon. Click to see more about the class and to register (great grub included!)

I’ll also be teaching green woodworking at a couple of primitive skills gatherings: Buckeye, in CA, May 1 – 7 (already full) And Echoes in Time, near Salem OR, July 17-23.…

Beauty and Building

It’s hard to talk to people about beauty and building. Last fall, a friend of a friend came by to see what we’re building. He looked appreciatively at our modest but well-built structure — which I have been ornamenting by cutting curves in rafter tails and support brackets — and said, “why are you spending all this time to cut fancy shapes when you have a house to build?” Before I could reply, he said, almost to himself, “Oh, you’re an artist,” as if that explained otherwise aberrant behavior, like a diagnosis of disease.

It’s the view from economic laws of production and profit.…