Paula wrote somewhere that we’re all going to miss Greenwood Fest this year; but all the time she’s saved not organizing that event has allowed her to organize some woodsy classes as well as a new idea – Spoon Day. If you’re on Plymouth CRAFT’s mailing list, you got a notice about it today. If you’re not – we’re having two classes with Dave Fisher & JoJo Wood. These happen either June 7 & 8 or June 10 & 11. So what to do on the Sunday in between? We made up Spoon Day – one-day event wedged between sessions. It’s all on the events page – https://www.plymouthcraft.org/events
It’s a medium-sized Spoon Fest – just as you would expect. This year it took place in Pambula Beach, New South Wales. I read about the area on the web, and thought it all sounded like travel/tourist hype, but it actually was more beautiful than the web said. In a rugged/prehistoric way…
The event started off with two 2-day classes, me with spoons carved from (intractable) crooks; and the Wayfaring Stranger Alex Yerks https://www.instagram.com/alex_yerks/?hl=en carving kuksas. If you’re new to Alex’s scene; he’s a wanderer. New York, Minnesota, London – now Australia and New Zealand.
The site was about a 5-10 minute walk from an astoundingly beautiful Pacific beach called Merimbula Bay that stretched for quite a ways. The couple of times I was there, other than the spoon carvers, 3 people meant it was crowded.
We started out under a large marquee (think circus tent if you’re in America) – Alex at one end me at the other.
I had a great group of willing students working their way through some unusual woods as far as I was concerned. I had to preface all my concepts with “Let’s see if this will work in ______.” Some of the woods we tried included Banksia, Casuarina (aka She-oak), Black Wattle, Native cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis), and I forget what else. They flip around from local names, Latin names and other trees they call by names you’d recognize, but the trees are nothing like what they’re named for. Some of them worked. The black wattle showed promise to me – but then mine checked after a couple of days. I thought I had got it past the critical stage – but then the weather turned warmer and it cracked along the back of the bowl. Here in the more humid (most every place is more humid than southeastern Australia) it looks better.
My students were very patient while I was distracted by every song/flit/swoop/screech of the native birds. This eastern Yellow Robin sat on this tree right in front of one of my sessions, as if to say “get your camera…”
That was a happening two days; filled with ideas, techniques, stories, ant-holes that could engulf a person, a goanna, some kangaroos and spoons galore. One morning, I was hanging around chatting with Spoon Jam regular Annie and she spotted this kangaroo and its youngster –
Alex gave a presentation to the whole group of how he carves his kuksas. Later, he kept exclaiming “I was surprised how many people were carving them!” – we had to remind him that he showed everyone how to do it.
One of my favorite stories of the event involved Alex. I arrived at Jeff & Jules’ place ahead of him by a few hours. I was hanging around, learning about parrots, cockatoos and more from them and their kids Misty (age 9) and Isaac (age 7). Isaac was asking me if I knew Alex.
Isaac Donne: Do you know Alex?
PF: Yea, a bit.
ID: What’s he like? PF: Well, he has glasses, long hair and a beard, he’s much younger than me. He might be wearing a vest, and he will definitely be wearing a hat. He travels all over and loves to carve.
ID: what else?
PF: Oh, I don’t know. He’s a musician. Oh, and he’s from New York.
ID: Oh – is he fancy?
I didn’t answer that one. Told him he’d have to get to know Alex, then decide for himself if he’s fancy.
I’m getting nowhere sorting Greenwood Fest pictures, so will just post a few here & there rather than trying to write a comprehensive blog post about the event. The wood gets delivered in a dump truck. Easy to unload, but last year we just left a large jumbled heap for people to sift through. This time I asked for (& got) volunteers to sort and lay out the wood so it was less hazardous. Then – I kept worrying we’d run out. Doesn’t look like enough, but it was…
Here’s Curtis Buchanan on his way to work, no doubt some hijinks between him & Darrick Sanderson on the pole lathe there. It was a great pleasure to have Curtis join us this time…
Way back in my woodworking DNA I’m a chairmaker – and I kept going back to Curtis’ sessions to see what he was up to, and to admire his chairs. So much so that I bought this one – I never bought another chairmaker’s chair before.
Barn the Spoon. BOOM.
So much hands-on component, so much real-world connection.
This place was always busy.
The ladyslippers were in full bloom.
Robin Wood came over from England. He ran several sessions, this one, with JoJo (seated on the right), about their tool-making operation Wood Tools.
Our old friend Joel Pontz brought his tent, his borrowed dump truck and his eager help. Then he took Jane Mickelborough’s folding spoon class. Here he’s cutting the bridle joint that forms the hinge.
Stopped by Dave Fisher’s pre-fest course on carving bowls, to see just who the quickest ones were who got to sign up for that class. Under 10 minutes I think it took to sell out…
And Dave in a later session demonstrating how he does the finish work on one of his bowls.
I’m back from New York and off to Williamsburg. I’ll be at their Woodworking conference through Sunday, then back home here Monday or Tuesday. Then Pret & Paula get back from their jaunt just in time for tickets to Greenwood Fest to go on sale February 2nd, 10 AM eastern time. https://www.greenwoodfest.org/
The whirwind-around-the-world slöjd man Jögge Sundqvist. https://www.instagram.com/surolle/ Where is he? Japan, Australia, Sweden, Minnesota – well, in June he’ll be in Pinewoods with us. Here he is doing his Jimi Hendrix thing.
Not only do we have the now-old man of Windsor chairs, Curtis, but once again we have Pete Galbert coming back this year. Great chairs, great book, great teacher. https://www.instagram.com/petergalbert/
I’ll do a separate post about Pen Austin next week – she does amazing work with finishes, surfaces, etc. Often working with lime plaster, at the Fest she’s going to show us about using milk paint like you’ve never seen before. Even this crowd that is milk-paint savvy. Pen was there the day we launched Plymouth CRAFT but it’s taken until now for us to get her into our orbit – she’s very much in demand for restoration work. Here is a photo of some of her faux painting on columns for a Shakespeare Company’s stage.
I’ll probably do an oak carving session during the Fest, and hopefully Paula will do another cooking w/fire class…we’ll figure those details out during February.
Maureen has been finishing stuff lately and posting them on her etsy site, https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts and she got me poking around my spoon basket. I haven’t had much time for spoon carving, but have a few I’ve finished in the past month or so. If you would like to pick any of these, just leave a comment. Usually paypal is the easiest way to pay; I’ll send an invoice. Or you can mail a check, just let me know. Finish is food-grade flax oil on all of these. Prices include shipping in US, further afield requires an extra charge for shipping.
November spoon 01; SOLD
an American sycamore crook, with S-scroll carving
L: 9 5/8″ W: 2 1/8″
Nov spoon 02; SOLD
birch serving spoon
L: 11″ W: 2 1/2″
Nov spoon o3; SOLD
birch crook. serving spoon. One of my favorite kinds, following both the crook of the branch as well as the curve.
L: 9″ W: 2 3/*”
Nov spoon 04; SOLD
birch serving spoon.
L: 10 7/8″ W:2 1/2″
Nov spoon 05; SOLD
cherry crook serving spoon. Maybe my favorite of the batch.
L: 12 3/8″ W: 2 1/4″
Nov spoon 06: Not sure what to call this one. Almost a pie-serving shape. American sycamore crook. Very flat “bowl” to this one…(clouds came out, photo is darker than the spoon really is…)
L: 9 3/4″ W: 1 1/2″
Nov spoon 07; cherry, large serving spoon. The last of a batch of oversized serving spoons in cherry. Too late for Thanksgiving…
L:13 7/8″ W” 3 1/2″
Nov tray; birch. SOLD
When I was carving it, I thought of it as a bowl, but now I see it done, it’s a tray.
L: 15 3/4″ W: 5 7/8″
Nov bird bowl, SOLD
cherry. The last one of these I have done for quite a while. I have unfinished ones lurking at me in the shop, but no time for them now…
L: 15″ H: (at front) 7 1/4″
People’s lives get busier every year. Ours too. Good thing we have all these time-saving devices…
today’s post is just a “save the date” sort of thing. Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest will be early June again, same venue = Pinewoods Dance Camp, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA.
Festival June 8-10; pre-Fest courses June 5-7. TICKETS GO ON SALE FEBRUARY 2, 2018. We will let you know details as we get it together – this is just so you can get the time off of work, quit your job, cancel graduation/wedding, etc and tell your family you’ll be in the woods.