Thanksgiving 2015


Thanksgiving here in the US, a national holiday. It’s a long & complicated story, and I don’t get to wrapped up in it. I hate football, turkey and I don’t drink. So it doesn’t really effect me much. I worked for 20 years at Plimoth Plantation, where they get a lot of attention this time of year, it being where the roots of the American holiday are. I left that full-time job a year & 1/2 ago, ditching a regular paycheck, benefits, vacations & some holidays, etc. to strike out on my own. Some of the many things for which I am thankful include students in my classes, customers of my spoons & other woodwork and the readers of this blog – you all make it possible for me to eek out a living doing things I love to do. There’s no telling how long it will last, but I appreciate everyone’s support in my work.


Our friend Peter Lamb has an Instagram site, and today he posted about his friend Bill Coperthwaite, who died two years ago today. Peter’s post included this quote from Bill’s book A Handmade Life:

“When we have more than we need while others are in want, we certainly thieve. But in addition, we enslave ourselves. As we learn to live with fewer and simpler things, and are able to live with fewer expenses, we become less vulnerable to social upheaval. We have greater freedom – visual, mental and spatial – and far greater freedom of movement. And we spend less time maintaining and stumbling over things – physically, mentally, and visually – and worrying about loss.”

Food for thought.

Red tail hawk from a walk in Marshfield today.

last view

flight 2

Spoons & more for sale, November 2015

What’s missing on the blog lately? Birds for sure. Just haven’t had much time to find them lately. The bay has been filling up with winter ducks, and these brant geese.


Also shot this photo – made me think of the song “Twa Corbies”

twa corbies

The other missing thing is spoons. I thought I’d carve a lot this summer, but didn’t get to it. Too much travel, etc. But I finally got around to finishing a few, along with the first of the baskets and more. So if you’d like to have a look – here’s the page, or the top of the blog will get you there too. 

Paypal is easiest for me, but you can pay with a check too if you’d rather. Just let me know. Details on the page..

Greenwood Fest, June 10-12, 2016 instructor Jögge Sundqvist

Well, this one wasn’t hard.

Jögge Sundqvist fotad av Erik Nordblad-1

Back in 1988, I met Jögge Sundqvist while I was the intern at Country Workshops, Drew & Louise Langsner’s school for green woodworking. Jögge came to teach a class that summer, and to shoot a video for Taunton Press on spoon & bowl carving. The video is a companion to his father Wille’s book Swedish Carving Techniques. He and I were both younger then,

PF & Jogge 1988

and we each went home & focused on this & that. I became the carved oak guy, he became surolle. Although we corresponded once in awhile, we didn’t meet up again for 22 years!

So last year, when I heard he was coming to the US to teach, I weaseled my way around to get him to come to Lie-Nielsen, where he shot a new video (after the new year sometime…) and taught a 2-day class in Slöyd, mostly with the axe & knife.

While he & I were together in Maine in September, I floated the idea of coming back for Greenwood Fest in June 2016. And he said yes. Enough blather. Here’s Jögge’s blurb, in English.

“I am working with handtools in the self-sufficient scandinavian fine craft tradition, making stools, chairs, cupboards, knifes, spoons, sculpture and shelves painted with artist oil colour. Since the age of 4 I learned using the knife and the axe by my father  Wille Sundqvist. Educated at the fine woodcraft Vindeln folkhighscool 1982 – 84. Under the name s u r o l l e  I run a professional small business since 1999 where I make sloyd and fine craft. I also teach and give lectures, and write books.”

His website:

details on registration in a few weeks. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of notice…

Jogge w spoon knife
Jogge w spoon knife
Jogge Sundqvist at Country Workshops, 2010
Jogge Sundqvist at Country Workshops, 2010

Show Rhythm and Sloyd - surolle 20 x 30 cm

Greenwood Fest 2016 instructor profile, Jarrod Stone Dahl

Another in a series of instructor profiles for Plymouth CRAFT’s Greenwood Fest 2016. Dates are June 10-12, 2016 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Details in the next few weeks, we’ll announce registration with plenty of notice here, at and facebook, etc…


This instructor announcement wasn’t hard – Jarrod Stone Dahl will indeed be travelling with his wife April. So we get a one-two punch. It’s hard to miss Jarrod’s work if you’ve been following the trajectory of “green woodworking” in recent years. He’s someone who is dedicated to making functional and beautiful spoons, bowls, birch-bark work (anyone need a canoe?) and more. Jarrod & I have corresponded for years, but finally got to meet up last spring when I made a short trip out to North House Folk School, where he is a regular instructor. One of the most appealing aspects of his work for me is his philosophy about handcrafts and their place in our lives. See his post about Spoon-a-geddon on his blog for example.

some blurb:

“Jarrod has been working with wood and birch bark professionally since 1996. He and his wife April both make and sell their handcrafts for a living through their business Woodspirit.

He teaches workshops across the country and internationally. Over the years he has gained extensive knowledge and experience while making birch bark baskets, birch bark boxes, wooden spoons and bowls, as well as cradle boards, birch bark canoes, snowshoes and toboggans.

His main focus is woodturning using only a foot powered lathe and carving spoons with axe and knife. He has spent time in museum archives in the US, Sweden and the UK, studying and researching older work which is a very influential part of his inspiration as a craftsperson. Jarrod brings extensive knowledge of harvesting natural materials, the use of hand tools, and a deeper philosophical, historical and pragmatic approach to handcrafts to his work and his workshops.”

Jarrod has been a part of Spoonfest in the UK and Täljfest in Sweden. I’m very excited to have both Jarrod and April out east here for Greenwood Fest. All the photos here are by Jarrod Stone Dahl, of his work. 

spoon & knife




blue bowl


Greenwood Fest, June 2016, instructor JoJo Wood

Spring of 2014. There I was. Just finished shooting my video Carving Wooden Spoons with Lie-Nielsen Just gave notice to my then-employers that I was striking out on my own. And, off for a great vacation to Lake Woebegon to meet Jarrod Stone Dahl and Robin Wood – enrolled as a student in Robin’s first bowl turning class at North House Folk School.

While farting around the shop there in the evenings, I got out my spoon knives and did some carving. After one particular dismal outing, up comes JoJo Wood – she looks at my spoon & says, “I can show you a good way to shape a spoon from a straight-grained blank” – so there & then I got a real eye-opening lesson from someone who was not even born when I first carved spoons! And glad I was. JoJo knows what she’s about…

jojo 2

The lesson? We can learn from all kinds of people, young & old. Woodworking instructors don’t have to be 60-yr old grey-haired men.

And, now – your turn. JoJo is coming to Greenwood Fest to show us what’s what. Her work is great…she puts more thought into spoons than you can imagine. She really breathes these things. AND – she’s hoping to be able to bring some of her clog-making tools to show us some of that as well. Here’s a blurb she wrote up, at great personal cost to herself.

“A second generation green woodworker, JoJo Wood has been making almost since she could walk. She spent her early years travelling the world with her father, meeting craftspeople and amassing woodwork skills and knowledge, building the perfect foundations for mastering her chosen crafts. She is now one of the UK’s leading spooncarvers, and is training under the last of the English clogmakers, Jeremy Atkinson. JoJo hopes to inspire more women and younger people to get into woodworking, teaching that technique wins over physical strength every time.”

Here’s pictures:

and yes, JoJo – I wanted you to be a part of Greenwood Fest because you inspire young people and women to take up edge tools, but also because you’re good at it.






Greenwood Fest, June 2016 instructor Owen Thomas

As our Plymouth CRAFT group work away at organizing the Greenwood Fest 2016, I have another instructor profile for you. (here’s the previous one on Dave Fisher )

Bowl turning is a huge part of woodworking and there’s lots of ways to do it, but my favorite approach is with green wood, a pole lathe and hook tools. I have dabbled in it for years, following the work of Robin Wood in the UK and Roger Abrahamson here in the US. But for Greenwood Fest, we’ve got someone who really knows it. We are excited to have a great bowl turner from England, Owen Thomas, come join us. Owen & I not yet met, but have several mutual friends and I’ve been watching Owen’s work on the web for quite a while.


Here’s his blurb

“Owen has been a woodworking professional for the past 10 years. Around 6 years ago, he discovered the world of green woodworking and pole lathe turning. Since then, he has applied himself to building his skills and improving his knowledge and techniques. He is now one of the small handful of professional pole lathe bowl turners in the UK and one of the only turners in the world to use the nesting technique on the pole lathe. Aside from producing bowls and spoons for sale, he regularly demonstrates and teaches at woodworking events, including the annual Spoonfest in the UK.”  and his website here and

I grabbed another piece off his website:

“I have been lucky to have worked with and learned from some of the renowned masters of woodworking in the world. On my journey I have lived in Mike Abbotts chair making workshop, apprenticed with Barn The Spoon at a spoon carving shop in London and learned to make my own tools from Robin Wood in a workshop on the Pennine Way.”

One thing in particular about Owen’s work is his nests of bowls. These are a set that he cuts from one large blank. Rather than turn the whole interior into shavings, he cuts a successively smaller bowls from the inside of a larger bowl. This might not seem like much, but think about this – he’s using a bent tool to go in and cut the outside of one, and the inside of the larger bowl, which means much of the time he can’t see what’s happening. I don’t know about you, but I tend to be able to see what I’m cutting when I work wood. He also makes beautiful spoons. He’ll be doing some bowl turning and hopefully some forging of the specialized hook tools he uses. And I bet he’ll carve a spoon or two. How can he resist?



plate1 copy

Image of Breakfast Bowl

Image of Dolphin Spoon

here’s a feature about his work, note the bird songs as he works away at his lathe. No wonder I like him!

Here’s the Plymouth CRAFT site, we’ll have some details about Greenwood Fest before too long. It will all be announced here, there & everywhere.


Greenwood Fest, June 2016, instructor intro

OK, we’ re starting in on the huge task of arranging and organizing the Greenwood Fest that I mentioned the other day. If you missed that announcement, the dates are Jun 10-12, 2016 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We’re not ready with a website, etc, but it’s a program put on by Plymouth CRAFT  You’ll hear lots more about it as we get it together. 

We’re lining up what I think is a group of great instructors. I picked them based on one simple notion – I’d like to learn from them. I figure if I’d like it, so would other green woodworkers. We can’t invite everyone I want, and I can’t give you the whole lowdown yet. But one goody-two shoes was quicker out of the gate than the others, so we can show you some of Dave Fisher’s stuff. Here’s his blurb, and if you haven’t seen his website or blog, you’re missing something great. This is a rare opportunity to study with Dave, and explore his ideas about bowls and other green woodwork.  


For the past twenty years, Dave Fisher has explored many aspects of wood carving and green woodworking.  A dozen years ago, inspired by traditional Scandinavian forms as well as other cultures, he began concentrating on carving bowls from green logs.  Since then, he has carved many bowls in a wide variety of woods and forms, continually learning and refining his methods for designing and carving bowls from green wood with hand tools.  Dave has shared his experience through demonstrations, tutorials, and through his website and blog which can be viewed at and, respectively.”


2014 Cherry leaf bowl in progress

Dave could teach the whole thing by himself, but then there’d be nothing for the rest of us to do. So from time to time, I’ll profile the others involved. I’m thrilled that Dave is willing to come to New England to work with us on this. You will be too.