On Sunday 9th September we had our first Ontario Rural Skills Network (ORSN) Workshop here at Mount Wolfe Farm in a circle of white pine behind the drive shed. It was a windy afternoon and choosing the right chair to sit on round the fire was important to avoid stinging watery eyes from occasional plumes of smoke.ircle of white pine behind the drive shed. It was a windy afternoon and choosing the right chair to sit on round the fire was important to avoid stinging watery eyes from occasional plumes of smoke.
ORSN workshops are all about trying something new in a relaxed atmosphere. With coffee and biscuits on the go and my best folk playlist in the background, carvers were invited to leave their cares behind and focus mindfully on the task at hand.
10 good people were put through their paces learning basic Spoon Carving techniques as an introduction to Green Woodworking, learning the process through understanding wood structure, selection, and splitting to prepare a blank; use and sharpening of axe and knives; and finishing with oils.
While not all individual projects were a success, with proto-spoons becoming knives and then chopsticks, everyone learned something about working with wood and about themselves and left with the basic knowledge of green wood work.
And for some, a fire was lit in the soul, and I just know they won’t be able to leave a kitchen drawer or cutlery pot undisturbed without rifling through for inspirations of new visions of spoonery; never again will an idle moment not be filled by the gentle sound of soughing wood and the tumble of shavings to the floor.
The next spoon carving workshop is on Sat 22nd September at 2pm, with more dates in October and November coming soon.
Or why not sign up for our Straw Basket Weaving workshop with Barbara Guy on 30th September at 10-2
You can book either of these workshops here https://www.ontarioruralskillsnetwork.com/book-online
Thanks to Ted Lamb and Storm Simpson for the photographs and filming.
ORSN is part of the SSHRC-funded Hedgelaying in Ontario’s Landscape project at the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), University of Waterloo. The project is exploring new links between people and landscape through traditional skills.