Spoonsmith, Jeff Donne recently came back from the UK where, deep in a windblown valley in the Peak District, he indulged in Spoonfest.
“Spoon what?” is the most common response, and according to the spoonsmith from Pambula NSW, this often leads to two slightly odd comparisons.
“There will always be people who see me as an old hermit living off moss and lichen soup, and when they see my tools of the trade it sometimes leads to parallels with an axe-wielding fiend,” he said.
“But the spoonie tribe is on the rise in Australia. I see it all the time at my spoon carving workshops and it’s so satisfying to see an old craft, a once nearly lost craft, now finding its way back into mainstream Australia.
“And that’s why, together with another spoon carver from Melbourne way, we’re setting up Spoon Jam, Australia’s first little festival dedicated to the beautiful art of hand carved wooden spoons.
“Spoon carvers aren’t a subculture any more, they’re everyday folk rediscovering these funny shaped things at the ends of our arms. They’re into craft, making, and physical expression, and they’re really into doing so much more with their hands than just swiping and typing.
“What I discovered at Spoonfest in the UK, is that spoon carving is awesome for just sitting with strangers and connecting through the meditative act of making everyday objects. Kind of like a knitting circle with axes.
“It’s a little festival with space for just 20 people, and it’s just right for people with no tool skills whatsoever; and for those who have dabbled in axe and knife carving there’s still plenty to learn.
“I’ll also be joined by Pete Trott who runs spoon carving workshops from Rundell & Rundell’s place in Kyneton near Melbourne.
“Pete, and the Rundells have achieved some amazing things in recent years by highlighting old skills at the mega popular Lost Trades Fair, so it’ll be awesome to have him running his workshops at Spoon Jam.
“There’ll be workshops, a spoon and tool shop, spoons on display from some of the world’s best carvers, books to fall into and at tools down we’ll all go for a beer and fish and chips – and ice cream if you’re busting to use your freshly carved spoon – at Pambula Beach”.
Spoon Jam is on October 22 and 23 at the Panboola Wetlands Heritage Project in Pambula NSW. Weekend tickets cost $200. If you’re interested in being part of the first Australian spoon carving festival, go to www.spoonsmith.com.au or call Jeff on 0417 882 074.
Photo: Spoonsmith, Jeff Donne is one of the teachers at Spoon Jam 2016 (photo by Michael Griffin). High res version available if needed.
Interviews & info: Call Jeff Donne on 0417 882 074