Slow Making
Misadventures in Making

Spooning On A Winter's Afternoon

IP - Carving Burnt Spoon

The spooning has been continuing!  

On Saturday I jumped in the car for yet another cross town trip. This time to CERES to do the coal burning spoon workshop with Claire Dunn, author of My Year Without Matches.  You'll have to forgive me for more spoon making posts - it's my latest thing :o)

Claire is incredible and inspiring - she has such a deep connection to the mysteries of nature and a willingness to share that connection with others. When she's talking to you, you feel as if you are being listened to by someone who genuinely cares. It's rare to meet someone who is totally present and not distracted by all the noise of daily life. 

Part of the day was introducing yourself and why you were there. Listening to some of the amazing responses got me to thinking again about making and why I do it. It's such a part of me that I can't imagine not making but I find it hard to put into words why it is I love to make. But I'm going to give it a go!

IP - Ember

{coaxing an ember from the fire into life | photo by Claire Dunn}

There's a spark of life inside all of us that longs to create something.  That little spark can be nurtured and coaxed to grow into a flame.  Fan that flame and you get a burning passion.  That's what making is for me.  A burning passion.  

When I am making the things that I need, I get lost in the moment.  I'm in what Sir Ken Robinson, author of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, calls a state of flow.  Time passes, the cat vomits and I don't notice because I am intent, absorbed, totally immersed in what I am doing.  The house could come crashing down around my ears and I wouldn't notice.

I find it deeply satisfying to use my hands to make something.  It is physical, mental, challenging, stimulating and frustrating.  I go through all the emotions and I feel alive.  

I love working with natural materials and using traditional, slow methods to create things that are not only useful but beautiful.  Making things my way is the ultimate expression and statement of who I am.  Of my unique nature because of course, every maker is different.  

At each stage of the making process there are a multitude of options and choices.  In choosing that particular option on that particular day I am making a statement about who and where I am at that moment in time.  The finished object reflects this statement beautifully.  I can revisit who and where I was when I made my spoon every time I use it to eat my dinner.

IP - Ember on Spoon

{the alchemical fire, burning the bowl of the spoon}

The whole process of making fascinates me but it's the alchemy of turning raw materials into finished objects that has me hooked.  In this alchemical process, it is not just the materials being altered, I am also transformed.   Every time I make something, I am in awe of the magic that comes from working with my hands and I am humbled by the lessons that I learn. Making slow and making by hand gives me time and space to reflect and to think.  To pay attention and to notice what is happening around me and within.

My making journey weaves a portrait of my life and my choices.  I look around my house and I am surrounded by the things I have made and loved.  They all have stories to tell and are woven into my life and my heart.  

IP - Coal Burned Spoons

{The collection of spoons made at the workshop}

There is so much beauty in handmade. All the imperfections are glorious and give a piece character and honesty.  Handmade objects are unique just like their makers.  All the spoons in the above picture started the day as blank pieces of pine.  And they have all turned into unique spoons, just like their carvers.  

We need to celebrate our own unique gifts as much as the unique things we make.  Especially when we live in an age of mass-produced sameness.  All our eating spoons are uniformly the same.  Give me a collection of motley, handmade spoons (and spooners :o)  any day!