Barn The Spoon at Leila’s Cafe
Behold the mighty Barn the Spoon, a titan among Spoon Carvers
“It was Leila’s idea,” confessed my friend Barn the Spoon, when I came upon him fitting this handsome willow spoon rack at Leila’s Cafe in Calvert Avenue next to Arnold Circus. “I’m doing it so that regulars can have their own spoon made by me and then keep it here to use whenever they visit the cafe.” he explained helpfully, “They’ll eat their soup or porridge with it and then afterwards it goes back on the rack.”
“When I was eight, my mother took me to Le Chartier in Paris, where the diners keep their own napkins on the wall in pigeon holes,” recalled Leila McAlister, revealing her fond inspiration for the project,“and it became an illicit mail service with people leaving notes for each other – so maybe that will happen here?”
By now, Barn had fitted his rack – which he hopes will be the first of many if the idea is successful – and then he stood back to examine his handiwork critically, arranging a few spoons to test the effect.
First on the rack was an alder spoon made as a gift for Leila, with her name graven on the handle. “Leila’s spoon is a Scandavian design from a bent branch, so it was very complicated to carve, ” admitted Barn, placing the cherished implement reluctantly in its new home,“It’s so beautiful, I really wanted to keep it.” Beside this, he put a cherry spoon based upon a medieval London spoon at the Museum of London and then a Welsh cawl spoon in sycamore wood to complete the trio.
“I think eating with a wooden spoon is a beautiful thing, it’s a different way of life,” Barn suggested to me, stroking his beard and getting lost in contemplation of his handiwork, “You’re going to become a different person if you eat with your own handmade spoon.”
The three of us stood in silence admiring the completed spoon rack. “It looks so at home already,” added Leila with a smile of approval.
From left, traditional Welsh cawl spoon in sycamore wood, medieval London spoon in cherry wood based upon an example at the Museum of London and Scandanavian style spoon in alder wood.
Spoon made for Leila McAlister from a bent branch of alder from Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.
Get your own spoon from
Barn the Spoon, 260 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ. (10am-5pm, Friday-Tuesday)
and keep it in the rack at
Leila’s Cafe, 17 Calvert Ave, E2 7JP. (10am-6pm, Wednesday-Saturday, until 5pm Sunday)
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