"The experience of green woodworking and spoon making all hovers around the idea of connection. The old tools are a link to earlier times, and some of the tools are ancient. Each tree carries with it the past, and every part gets used. […]
"There is the wonder of the emergence of the spoon shape in a blank, and it’s evolution to the finished and dried spoon. There is the simple pleasure of oiling a spoon for the first time, re-hydrating it, and seeing all of the grain come alive… There are the ever present wood chips on the floor and stuck to clothes, which somehow is a protest against sterility and an acknowledgement of nature inside.
"It is not about production, and it is never likely to be about making a lot of money… It is about sharing the love of something with others. It is about putting a little part of me in your kitchen."
– André Souligny, Spoonderlust
In a time of mass-produced goods and overzealous consumerism, what happens when we slow down and mindfully handcraft the things we need and use, or purchase them from others who do the same?
I believe that the things we mindfully choose are different. They come into our lives infused with love and positivity. In turn, they help us return to slower, more conscious ways.
We turn inward. We are present.
In short, we revive the gift of slowness.
Through the simple act of mindfully choosing the things we surround ourselves with we breathe life into old ways.
Years ago I started using hand-carved spoons in my kitchen, made by my dear friend André. We've known each other since we were in our 20's, and his spoons are easily the favorites in my kitchen.
Truly, each time I slowly prepare a pot of soup or caramelize onions with one of his spoons that slowness comes full circle. Slow spoon, slow food.
It's a subtle message there in my hands: slow down. Savor.
When we were in Vermont this fall we spent a week with André and his family. He has been carving spoons for years – an artistic outlet for his full and busy life of parenting, working, and homeschooling.
We spent an afternoon out by the woodshop, tools and spoon blanks in hand.
I watched in fascination as he carved one beautiful spoon from start to finish that October day.
When André surprised me by sending us the spoon I watched him carve, I realized that I wanted to do three things:
1. Share André's beautiful carving process with you to inspire your own slow-craft journey
2. Encourage you to visit his Etsy shop when you begin your holiday shopping (and hopefully inspire you to bail an any Black Friday madness you were half-heartedly considering!)
and 3. Offer the spoon he sent me (the one I watched him carve last fall, the one pictured in the process below) as a gift in a giveaway for you.
How does that sound?
I thought so, too.
Well then. Let's get to it!
The birth of a spoon
André's spoon-making begins with a slab of fresh, green wood. He works with a variety of species including maple, beech, and in this case yellow birch.
The wood is split to an appropriate thickness using a froe, then examined as he searches for the spoon within. Soon a rough spoon bowl is drawn in place.
Initial shaping down the handle and around the bowl is done with a hatchet, removing the bulk of excess material quickly and skillfully. (When I do this my hands ache within minutes. Like the rest of skillful carving, it is definitely a learned skill.)
The very rough, very chunky "spoon" that results is called a blank. Many spoon makers create these with a band saw, but André crafts his with hand tools alone, like a spoon-maker would have done 100 years ago.
After the blank is prepared it's time to move to the shaving horse and more delicate tools. First the draw knife and spoke shave, then onto spoon carving knives for the detail work.
The bowl shape on this spoon was adjusted at this point when a small knot was revealed that required a slight rethinking of the design. A deep-bowled, elegant spoon began to emerge from the blank.
When André is satisfied with the more refined shape, it is time for the bowl to be hollowed. he uses a double edged hook knife for this task.
It is slow, conscious, hypnotic work.
After the bowl is carved, André returns to the handle and the back of the bowl, slowly removing more and more material until the just-right shape emerges.
It's a mindful art where the wood, the artist, and the emerging spoon all work together to create each one-of-a-kind piece.
Watching a spoon emerge in this way is inspiring and fascinating. Because largely, we have lost many of these old skills somewhere along the way. And I believe they are more than worth reviving.
The spoon André sent is lovely. (Pictured below.) I nearly kept it for myself. (So nearly kept it!) But you, sweet friends, win this time. (Or one of you will anyway.)
The giveaway is now closed. Our winner is Jane who said:
"To me there are few things as wonderful as the feel of a handmade wooden spoon. Thank you for the opportunity to win one."
Here's how to enter the Spoonderlust Giveaway:
1. Visit the Spoonderlust Etsy shop. If you have an Etsy account add his shop as a favorite.
2. Leave a comment below.
3. For an additional entry, share this post by any means you wish (Facebook, Twitter, tea with friends, tin-can-and-string-phone – you get the idea) and leave a second comment telling me how you shared it.
After Thanksgiving I will choose one lucky winner and ship you your spoon. Good luck!
André has also offered all Clean readers $2 off of any spoons in his shop from today through Sunday. His inventory is limited, so don't wait. To redeem your discount use coupon code "CLEAN" during checkout.
You can find André at Spoonderlust on Etsy and blogging here.
51 thoughts on “Spoonderlust handmade spoons (and a Thanksgiving giveaway)”
What a perfect metaphor for carving away the busyness of life and focusing on what’s underneath, the important stuff. If you find a knot, readjust and search out the simple beauty. Thank you for sharing. ❤️
Shared by tin can and FB. 😉
These spoons are beautiful! What a gift to create these.
These spoons are beautiful.
I love the process and the one of a kind beauty of each spoon! Just gorgeous.
Shared the spoons post!
Shared through conversatio. Forgot to say that.
Good timing! My husband and I have been learning a lot about green woodworking, spoon carving, bowl turning, etc. lately! He would love to learn to carve like this! Beautiful work!
Link to article shared with my husband!
Oh how LOVELY. Favorited the shop before even reading the post!
I love how he makes these…simple with old tools. The care in each one! thanks for the giveaway. I added his shop to my favorites!
Shared this post link with my husband and with a friend!
We could all do with more slowness in our lives. These spoons are beautiful! Given that they are wood, I wonder if they could be shipped overseas…
I favorited the Etsy shop and shared via Facebook 🙂
I so love using my wooden spoons that are so infused with their own stories. Thank you Rachel and Andre for this beautiful photo essay of this birth of a slow spoon.
I lovelovelove using my wooden spoons that are so infused with their own stories. Thank you Rachel and Andre for this beautiful photo essay of this birth of a slow spoon.
Oh my…this is lovely on soo many levels!
*Slowing down…savoring the process* ~ what a great reminder this spoon will be for whomever’s lucky hands it falls in!
Thank you so much for your generosity Rachel, in always spreading great love around+*+*
And Andre, truly a magical man ~ what a gift!
I’m grateful that he is sharing his talents with the world via etsy ~ his shop’s been “favorited” 🙂
Wishing you & your sweet family a bright & beautiful Holiday Season+*+*
I also just sent Andres etsy shop link & a link to this blog post, out to a few friends who will be in awe of his process & the great beauty he creates! *Thank You* p.s Spoonderlust = brilliant name! 😉
What a lovely way to make a lovely spoon! This is how I feel about hand quilting–yes, machine quilting is infinitely faster, but it has so much less heart in it!
Oh how I love the slow and hand-made….what a good reminder a spoon is, as it seems it would be used so much at the busiest time of year…like a little voice saying- slow down, enjoy the process, as you cook.
– Shared on face book! Thanks for passing along the story!
To me there are few things as wonderful as the feel of a handmade wooden spoon.
Thank you for the opportunity to win one.
These are beautiful. I’ve added his etsy shop to my favorites!
I’m not on most social media, but didn’t resort to the string/can phone. But I have shared this post with others that loves spoons via email. Thanks!
Beautiful story and such a lovely craft. I always love reading what you share. Thank you!
That is one gorgeous spoon! I favorited his shop on Etsy and will enjoy seeing his work. Thanks for the generous giveaway!
Shared on facebook!
I loved seeing the process photos, I had no idea it was so…involved! (Not sure what I was thinking, something more along the lines of 1. magically have already perfect sized rectangle of wood 2. carve it with a knife as easy as butter and then 3. spoon!) You mean it isn’t that easy? Dang, here I thought I wanted to actually try spoon making one of these days, good thing other people do so I can just leave it to them. Not that I won’t actually, you know, try it someday. But it has been bumped a few notches down the list. Thanks for the introduction to his Etsy shop, we need a few spoons actually and they’d make great holiday gifts this year.
I grew up with wooden spoons and have a beloved collection myself. My husband carved me one for my birthday and it is a prized possession. I have read Andre’s blog for a while now working up the confidence to try my hand at it myself. And, my father gifted me a set of old carving tools which my husband is cleaning and sharpening so I now have no excuse. I would love one of Andre’s spoon to serve as a high level of motivation. Thank you for the opportunity!
Not exactly tin-can-and-string but I did just talk to my cousin who is interested in all things woodworking and mentioned Andre and this giveaway. Thank you!
Love these handmade spoons! Sharing on FB!
Simply amazing! Love the slowness and the art!
wow! am sharing with my husband. The crepe spatula is intriguing…love crepes! a special treat!
Dude. I totally want to make a spoon now, what a cool process! Sending this to my woodworking Dad, thank you!
Oh so very cool. Beautiful process.
That is so cool! I don’t know that I would have the patience…but they are beautiful! And I can imagine, if you know what you are doing, quite a peaceful, mindful process…
I shared on Facebook, also.
This would be a treasure in our home. Thank you
Thank you Rachel. I don’t know how you managed to let this one leave your hands. It’s gorgeous. My 8 yr old has expressed some interest in whittling and I wonder if he’ll be willing to take on a spoon as he goes. I see that it is possible. Didn’t Sage work on one? I made Spoonderlust an Etsy favourite. Thank you again.
It’s beautiful and you are so generous! Thank you!
Wow. What a craft! So special and magically inspiring ☺️
I fwd your email to my folks 😍
Thanks Rachel, it’s absolutely beautiful!
Would love to use this…..
That’s a mighty fine spoon.
~ As a New England native, myself from VT & also lived in Maine, we say:
that’s a “wicked good” spoonmaker! Thank you so much for the photos, brilliant!
I will support your beautiful work Andre!! ~
such talent and such natural beauty. i love the idea of looking at the wood to find the spoon. it’s there all along… just waiting to be carved out! thanks! 🙂
I love beautiful practical things. Thank you for sharing Andre’s process.
So beautiful I love the froe.
Beautiful. My two oldest children have been lucky enough to do woodcarving classes with a local Waldorf teacher. The spoons they made are among the most used and most treasured items in my kitchen.
I love the simple beauty of his art.
Andre’s work reminds me of my late father’s work. Very cool.
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