This is a spoon carving story from my good friend Oliver Pratt.
I have asked some of my friends from around the world to send me some photos detailing where they carve and what they carve.
Oliver has been kind enough to send a story with photos.....
Here are the photos for your blog Jon.
I've followed and loved it ever since I started carving, and your work, help, and kindness has been a big inspiration to me.
I live in the Catskill mountains in New York state in the US. I've called this area home for most of my life, and though I've lived in a few other places there is nowhere I love more than here. I haven't been carving for very long, less than a year now, but it took hold fast in my life and quickly became something that I do everyday, most days for many hours. In the first photo you can see my shop in the foreground and the small house that I live in with my partner Kaela in the background. My shop used to be the milk house of the barn it's attached to, and the house we live in was once the calf barn.
I carve my treen using only hand tools. I don't think that there is a right and a wrong way to carve, but for me the process of carving by hand without any "power" tools is something I really love.
The connection to the wood and the shape that I am carving is much greater for me when I use tools that I power with my body. I also find that, for me, the use of hand tools allows me feel the grain and nature of the wood, and it guides me to making shapes that are not only more pleasing to the eye, but also stronger in use.
I know it sounds a little like what my mother would call "woo woo", but the wood does really let you know what's a good idea and what's not such a good idea, if you are listening.
Most of the wood that I carve is from the mountain I live on, and I'm lucky enough to be able to harvest it as I need it by taking a walk out my back door. Something I'm quite thankful for.
The last photo in the set is of my two most used spoons. One I made out of birch from the hill, and one by the incomparable Jon Mac. I must admit that I don't use Jon's spoon as often as I'd like because it's quite hard to get to it at dinner time before Kaela does. It's her favourite too.
There you go, a glimpse of what carving looks like in my little corner of the cosmos. I know that Jon is trying to get a few other folks to give us a peek into their's, and I look forward to seeing those when they come about. Thanks again Jon, and thanks to all you folk who make things by hand, I think it's a very important part of being human and it warms my heart that there are people out there who care about it too.
Hope you enjoyed,