Recently I had the privilege of attending a spoon carving workshop. The workshop is run by Greg Miller from The Joy of Wood, in Canning Vale. Perhaps you’re wondering why I just didn’t buy a spoon from the shops?
As a mentor, I believe it is crucial to continually develop my personal skills and spend time with other mentors. I also seek out opportunities to be mentored myself. This helps me be a better mentor to the children I work with.
In my high school years, I was always passionate about woodwork and furniture design. I enjoyed transforming a piece of timber to create something new. Through exploring the wood’s texture, grain and colour, I felt it was a form of nature connection. I actually relived and re-experienced those feelings of connection, satisfaction and joy a few weeks’ ago. All inspired by the children I mentor.
I enjoy supporting the children who attend our programs as they find joy in using the tools we have available. The children have time to tinker with natural objects like sticks, branches, logs and to practice new skills. These skills including whittling, carving, chiselling and sawing. I’ve seen the calming effect a carving knife has on an energetic child. Or the confidence and self-esteem sparked in a child who saws right through a large log or plank of wood. Frequently I see the pride in the eyes of the child who creates something stunning, delicate and useful with their bare hands.
My time with Greg was so inspiring. Firstly, by being in his workshop – a place where tools were respected, their history restored and their purpose methodically explained. And then also by his ability to gently encourage and challenge simultaneously.
I worked for three hours. I took a dry piece of Wandoo floorboard from an old house in Fremantle and transformed it into a spoon with character, charm and a story of its own. The grain of the wood dictated the curve and size of the spoon. The chunk out of the handle reminds me that using a spoke shave against the grain will remove big chunks of wood rather than fine slivers.
I’m proud of my spoon and excited to have reconnected with a deep passion and love that I have missed. I am inspired to continue developing skills in mentoring children to use tools and equip them with the skills to transform wood into new creations. I’m also keen to get back to Greg’s workshop and continue my own journey of connecting with the joy of wood!
Check out Greg’s work at his website here http://gregdmiller.blogspot.com.au/p/upcoming-woodworking-workshops.html
By Daniel Burton