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The Many Spoons Of Barn The Spoon

May 18, 2014
by the gentle author

Eighteen months after he opened his shop, I paid a call upon my good friend Barnaby Carder, widely known as Barn the Spoon, in the Hackney Rd last week to see how he was getting along – and I was delighted to discover him in high spirits and learn that the spoon business is booming. “I feel there’s no turning back,” he admitted to me, speaking as he whittled furiously while surrounded by wood chips, “I’m more in love with making spoons than ever.”

“Things are going brilliantly,” he continued,Spoonfest, my international festival of spoon-carving in Edale is sold out, I’m teaching spoon carving at Tate Britain in July and I’m giving a lecture on making a living from craft at the Pitt Rivers Museum. It’s all going on!” Such is the rise of the one with the uncontested claim to be Britain’s top spoon carver.

Around us were scattered diverse spoons of all shapes and sizes, comprising the evidence of Barn’s ceaseless labour and exuberant creativity in spoon-carving – every one a masterpiece of its kind. Taking an example of each in hand, I asked him to explain to me their form and function – and below you can see prized specimens of the many spoons of Barn the Spoon.

“It’s not a fork, it’s a straining spoon for wet stuff like salad”

“Based on a medieval eating spoon from the Museum of London in Sycamore with a mineral stain”

“A Sycamore cooking spoon with a mineral stain, shaped so you can scrape the dish”

“Long-handled soup spoon in Birch”

“A Hawthorn eating spoon with a thumb grip that makes it very functional”

“This tea caddy spoon in Cherry wood is the perfect measure for two cups of tea”

“Assymetric cooking spoon in Sycamore, shaped so you can cook and serve with it.”

“Assymetric cooking spoon in Beech, carved from a bent branch so the grain follows the direction of the shovel so it’s stronger and won’t split”

“Another cooking spoon in a medieval design with a tapering handle in Sycamore”

“A little sugar spoon in Cherry wood”

“A child’s eating spoon in Sycamore”

“This Sycamore spoon oiled with linseed oil was inspired by the Swedish style, as taught to me by Jared Stonedahl”

“This is a similar spoon in the Swedish style in Birch. You can see the rings in the bowl, that’s because it’s made from a split branch, cut in the opposite direction to the grain, so you can carve the bowl down into the pith.”

“Another Swedish style spoon, this time in spalted Alder – the fleck in the wood is created by a fungus”

“A left-handed pouring ladle based on a Roman example in the Museum of London”

Barn the Spoon, 260 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ. (10am-5pm, Friday-Sunday)

You might also like to read

Barn the Spoon, Spoon Carver

Barn the Spoon at Bow Cemetery

Barn the Spoon at Leila’s Shop

Barn the Spoon’s London Spoons

13 Responses leave one →
  1. May 18, 2014

    I read about Barn the Spoon in my newly acquired London Life book, last night, and thought ‘how can you make a living carving spoons?’ Imagine my delight when he popped up my inbox this morning! What an introduction to a talented artisan. Once again, thank you for your introduction.

  2. May 18, 2014

    The spoons are wonderful, I am so glad he is carrying on with his traditions and teaching spoon carving to others. So much nicer than their plastic and metal ‘improvements’. Valerie

  3. May 18, 2014

    I have seen Barn the Spoon as we go to Columbia Flower market fairly often but I did not realise how beautiful the wooden spoons were. I shall have to visit the place one day when we are down there again. There are so many places and so many secret corners to find and only Gentle Author is there to open our eyes to these secret places!

  4. Vicky permalink
    May 18, 2014

    Our spoon from Barn is used daily and it’s a joy, would never want to go back to a machine made one. It’s beautiful to handle as well as look at. So pleased he is enjoying his success. These spoons are wonderful, I want them all.

  5. May 18, 2014

    If one man has a mission — there really exists a design philosophy about spoons! And Barn the Spoon mastered it…

    Love & Peace

  6. Barry Derbyshire permalink
    May 18, 2014

    Love Barn the Spoon, elegant craftsmanship and a passion for one item, very refreshing in this age of mass production and distribution.

    Keep carving!!

  7. Beryl Happe permalink
    May 18, 2014

    Excellent blog, all is now explained…..

  8. armier permalink
    May 18, 2014

    God bless the gentle author.

    Without him you’d be fooled into thinking no-one cares about making; unaware of the vitality, mettle and substance that ‘s to be found there.


  9. Patty/NS permalink
    May 18, 2014

    I so wish I could purchase from Canada. They are all so beautiful, well done, Barn!

  10. Pauline Taylor permalink
    May 18, 2014

    These spoons look too beautiful to use, they are so individual and works of art. I admire Barn for making such lovely objects from wood, for teaching others how to do it , and for earning an income as well Congratulations to him.

  11. Terry permalink
    May 19, 2014

    SO glad you did another story on Barn, made a special trip to see him last year at Christmas time….all the way from New York well I was in London for a wedding but it was still a special trip…and to my very very very great disappointment he was closed. Wanted to give his spoons as holiday gifts….. happy to see he is doing well and that he is succeeding with his love of spoons
    I hope to see him next trip

  12. Carol Himmelman-Christopher permalink
    May 22, 2014

    Such lovely, lovely work!!! I have seen news spots on him when I have been traveling and have been fortunate enough to have access to BBC. Truly love his work and LOVE wooden spoons!!! They really do function better than any of the silly plastic and metal things out there. Thank you, as always, for bring us such exquisite insight into real life — real human beings.

  13. POLLY permalink
    November 10, 2020


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