Carving out time for Creativity

Carving out time for Creativity

Carving our time for creativity

In the Wood Tamer house we all enjoy being creative in one form or another.  So at least one afternoon every weekend (ideally both days) we put down whatever we are doing and the whole family meets in the lounge room to carve, paint, draw, sew, craft or do whatever is taking our interest presently. Our has daughter dubbed this time 'Arternoons'.

There are so many benefits we get from our Arternoons. Spending time quietly creating together as a family helps us to stay connected. Whilst creating, we might be chatting or listening to music or a podcast. By making it regular part of our weekend routine we get to be creative more often.

In a world where we are always so busy it is really important to stop and relax.  There is always something that needs doing and it's easy fall into the trap of letting our todo list rule our lives. I know that I am guilty of getting caught up in trying to get everything done over the weekend and then before I know it the weekend is over and I go back to work feeling exhausted. Stopping to carve is an antidote to this. Carving is like meditation for me, I lose myself in the process and when I am done I have something to show for it and I feel recharged.

Being creative gives us an opportunity to experiment with different ideas and express ourselves as individuals, to problem solve, use a different part of our brain that we don’t necessarily use in our day to day lives but also how to cope with failures when our project doesn’t turn out the way we planned.  This is all great for our childrens’ growing brains and it also benefits Lauren and I in keeping our minds active and plastic.

Creative time is not purely for weekends only though. Where possible we also make time to carve and paint throughout the week in the evenings. Lately I have been known to get up early in the morning to carve and start the day on a high. This takes some planning and preparation.  For me if it is too hard it won’t happen. I am lazy by nature but I am also efficient and deliberate so if everything is ready to go then I'm more likely to follow through. 

Here are some of the things that I do to make sure Carving happens:

  1. In the lead up to the weekend I make sure that all of my knives are sharpened so that when Arternoon comes around my tools are ready to go.
  2. When I have time and wood available I axe out a bunch of billets and spoon blanks and then store them on freezer so when I only have a little time (or it is the early hours of the morning) I can pull one out.
  3. I have 3 x Mora 106’s, 1 x Mora 120 and few other knives meaning that I can have a sharpening session once a week with some stropping in between to keep my knives keen.
  4. I find that indecision can really slow me down. So I like to know what I am going make before I even pick up a tool.  Often the idea of a design will pop into my head so I take the time to sketch it out and save it for later.  Knowing what timber stock I have means I can apply my intended design and not be standing around wondering what I am going to do.
  5. I keep my work space tidy and when my tools aren’t in use they go back in their right place. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find the tool you are looking for and loosing valuable carving time looking for it.

Another way to make sure you make time to create is join a group (or start a spoon carving group of your own), have a creative buddy to you get together with on regular basis. Much like having a gym buddy who motivates you and helps hold you accountable. 

Remember to keep things enjoyable. If a project isn’t working out get up and walk away from it.  Come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. If it really isn’t working out start afresh. I always aim not to be too serious and let it flow.

How do you carve out time to be creative? We would love to hear your methods, habits and even failures in the comments below. I know I for one want more time to carve and I am sure there are others who would benefit from sharing.

Stay creative,




  • Chris Pothof

    Great tips Neil. Man when I get the axe going I am sweating up a storm.
    Another tip I forgot to mention and it should have been #1 time saver. When my tools aren’t in my hand they are in their sheath. Drop your knife or axe edge on the ground and see how much time you will lose ;).

  • Michelle Nicoloau-Newman

    Love love love it!!! You know this already though! xx

  • Neil

    I carve early in the morning before my partner gets up. In this hot weather I find I’m just roughing spoons out cause my hands are too sweaty to finish a spoon. It’d get all dirty and stained.
    I try to do my axe work in the afternoon just before the sun goes down. Its a little cooler then.

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