Paul (aka Polly) and Rachel are two of the nicest people you will ever meet. I first met them at Spoon Jam when I purchased one of Polly's spoon mules. From there the conversation flowed and we have kept in touch ever since. Polly and Rachel are both equally passionate about green woodworking and we thought them perfect as the first participants in our Curly Questions series. We hope you enjoy reading their responses as much as we did!
Details about Polly's handmade Spoon Mules and how to order can be found here.
1. How did you get into green wood working and spoon carving?
Polly: I am a first aid trainer with St John Ambulance and one day there was this bloke called Jeff Donne in my class, during lunch we were talking and he told me about spoon carving and green woodworking.
I've always had busy hands and a love of working wood so when he told me about Spoon Jam number two I was excited but no , they were all booked , then after the course they all disappeared and I was putting the gear away when he walked back in and said if I would cover the Jam first aid wise I could get in free.....oh yeah.....
That was it , I spent 6 months finishing my Daughters house...then went to the shed and started carving.
Rachel: My partner was interested and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. As soon as I did I became addicted.
2. How long have you been green wood working and spoon carving for?
Polly: Since 2016 , or should I say May 2017 when I finished my Daughter's house.
Rachel: Approx 2 - 3 years very on and off, only the last 3 months just carving and woodworking
3. What is your favourite thing about it?
Polly: Making something I feel is beautiful on so many levels , I've always made stuff, that started in the UK when I must have been 6 when I was in hospital and Dad gave me an Airfix kit and I fell in love with creating shapes and objects.
4. How often do you carve in a week? How do you carve out the time?
Polly: I carve about 10 days a fortnight unless something like the recent "end of world" event and about 5 or 6 hrs per day....I don't have a full time job and live in a remote locality so for the first time in my life I can do something 100 percent and that is what I'm doing.
2-3 days if I can, and I do this for a job of work atm so I make as much time as I need.
5. Would you say that you have a certain style? What is it?
Polly: Style...not sure...my spoons are different to other spoons but so is everyones...um...curves , I like curves , I find carving a flat spoon boring...I love playing with crank and handle , keel and contours....
I think I’ve graduated from Caveman in spoons to Neanderthal but somewhat better in other bits and pieces.
6. What are your "go to" tools?
Polly: My Axe..my axe was made by Hans Peter Knudson on an island off Denmark..Landvirke.com....Mora 106..Von Trott hook knife..and my Svante Djarve adze.
, and an old axe picked up a second hand shop for $18. And reground by Paul.
7. Whose work do you admire and why?
Polly: Now thats hard..no one person covers all aspects so.. I like Adam Hawker for his process , I admire Dave The Bodger for the type specimen Eating Spoon...Barn of course for his economy of motion...and Jarod Dahl for that underhand cut he does.
Dave the bodger. I did a class with him in the uk and he was a very good teacher and I like his style of spoons and his basic technique for getting them out of the wood.
8. What does "one more cut" mean to you? :)
Polly: It means the end of that particular part of the process or the end of the spoon.
9. Have you made the perfect spoon yet? How many failures have you had and what do you do with them?
Have I made the perfect spoon ?..I've made a spoon I think will probably turn out to be the first eating spoon that finally had everything in it that I had been looking for for nearly two years of near full time carving...it was the best.
Failures? heaps... every thing from going to deep in the crank and stuffing it from the start to breaking the bowl against my chest when doing the last chamfer cut down the handle...fire wood.
Yes I have made one spoon I am happy with. The failures get used in the garden for marking out rows of veggies. Write on the spoon or carve, radish, carrot, etc, and then put the handle in the soil to Mark the start of the row. It’s also waterproof :)
10. What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into green wood working and spoon carving?
Polly: Learn to use an axe... spend a lot of time practicing the knife grips and carve as much as you can...try to give your spoon some elegance and balance...think about what wood you need to make the spoon and then take away the rest.. lol
Just do it.