“What did you do during the pandemic, ” friends will soon be asking. Now you can have a good answer: “I made a set of French eating spoons for our dining table.” Boy, will they be impressed.
First we’ll learn to carve a French eating spoon. Then we’ll learn to decorate it with wax inlay. Incredibly detailed wax inlay. We’ll have little clips of Jane doing the work so you can see how it’s really done, then you can watch me try. The best part is watching Jane grimace as I struggle – we’ll laugh a lot and learn a lot too. What could be better?
We split the blank from a maple log and carve it with drawknife and shave horse, knife and gouge. Jane has developed a carving process that allows the blank to be easily held in a conventional shaving horse. She’ll also demonstrate using a paroir de sabotier (clog-maker’s knife) to carve a spoon.
After the final shaping of the spoon blank, Jane shows us a variety of chip carving techniques. Then we fill the carvings with wax inlay, just like the traditional French spoon carvers.
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In Jane’s words: I am fascinated by wooden spoons–what appear to be simple, everyday objects are, in fact, very subtle three-dimensional shapes. Ten years ago I discovered the tradition of spoon carving here in Brittany, NW France, where I live.
Back in the 18th – 19th centuries these beautiful boxwood spoons were made to be taken to religious festivals and to weddings. Everyone had to take their own spoon and knife. This seems to have evolved into “who’s got the best spoon?”
While these spoons were fairly simple shapes, the handles were richly decorated with metal and wax inlays. It’s this shape of spoon we shall be making in these two classes.