The Wooden Kitchen is an exclusive collection of spoons and bowls made by me, here in the UK.
I use British hardwoods such as cherry, birch and sycamore, as well as exotic species I have hand-picked from far flung corners of the world, including walnut from remotest Afghanistan, olive wood with roots as deep as time from the sunny groves of Jordan and the fragrant thuya burl from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.
No two pieces of wood are the same; each has its own personality, its own secrets and its own history. Irregularities and imperfections are what make them unique and naturally beautiful.
Making things by hand is peaceful, quiet and reflective. I mostly work with fresh wood that still contains its sap. This is known as green wood working. Each spoon and bowl is a gift from nature. It takes patience and skill to coax something functional and beautiful out of the wood.
Take a spoon, for example. Starting in the forests and woods around the UK, I work alongside tree-surgeons, landowners and foresters to source the best wood for carving. Once I have found the perfect piece, I start working on it right away in my workshop.
To begin with, I axe out a rough shape to introduce the gentle sweeps and curves that define the spoon’s character. Next, I reduce the spoon to its final proportions using a combination of curved and straight-bladed knives.
And that’s it. Simple. No sandpaper or varnishes. Just some vegetable oil to finish. This gives my products an honest and raw feel. Finishing the products like this highlights the angles, contours and lines of the item in a way that sanding cannot. It also allows you to see how the cuts were made and to understand the character of the wood. You’ll see the flaws in the wood (and my carving technique), but you’ll also see the grain and feel its texture.
These spoons are made for use and abuse. You can wash them in water, dip them in jam, stir your coffee, eat your cereal…anything you like. As they age, they’ll discolour, warp and twist, acquiring further individuality and personality from you.
And one day, when you finally throw the spoon away, it’ll provide nutrition for other trees, and I hope…other spoons.