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In The Woods With Barn The Spoon

May 21, 2017
by the gentle author

Contributing Photographer Patricia Niven travelled a long way from Stepney to spend a weekend in the deep woods with celebrated East End Spoon Carver Barn the Spoon and members of his Green Wood Guild, and she sent me these pictures as a record of her pastoral adventure. ‘It was a beautiful place, wild and free, half-exposed to the trees and skies with a fire pit constantly alight to boil the kettle and a wood burning stove cooking delicious apple crumbles,’ Patricia recalled fondly, ‘And a memorable experience to witness Barn in his element, selecting trees, cutting them down and transforming them into beautiful spoons.’

Barn the Spoon goes in search of a tree

Barn spies a suitable tree

Barn selects a tree

Barn clears the undergrowth with his axe

Barn fells the tree

Barn examines his tree

Barn carries the tree back to camp

Barn’s tools

Barn carves a spoon with his axe

One of Barn’s spoons

Barn’s woodland spoon rack

Diverse spoons by Barn

The fire pit

Barn fries the bacon

Barn’s woodland fare

Sausages for all

Members of the Green Wood Guild dine in the open air

Dusk gathers

The cabin where Patricia Niven spent the night

Enfolded by woods

Photographs copyright © Patricia Niven

Barn the Spoon’s book SPON – A Guide to Spoon Carving & the New Wood Culture is published by Virgin Books on 24th May and his shop is at 260 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ

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

The Many Spoons of Barn the Spoon

At Barn the Spoon’s Green Wood Guild

14 Responses leave one →
  1. May 21, 2017

    This is so lovely, seeing Barn the Spoon in a perfect setting, and a tree becoming a spoon.

  2. May 21, 2017

    How delicious, I bet you had a lovely time

  3. May 21, 2017

    These are evocative and lovely photographs. They really tell the story of Barn the Spoon and his work that weekend, including the delightful meal. Thanks for passing them along, GA.

    I am amazed at the resulting spoons.

  4. May 21, 2017

    All the ambience is nice in the greenwood, lots of comradery among the spoon makers. Although carved these spoons are plain for domestic use they make nice show pieces, just lovely to hold. This is a tradition passed on from Medieval times mostly wood for some utensils then. I like all the styles and colours shown here by ‘Barn Super Spoon’ wood is King for him also its been mans best friend over the years from spoons to warship build. Good supporting feature by GA & Patricia. Poet John

  5. May 21, 2017

    Patricia Niven, you are a brave woman. The cabin in which you spent the night after a dinner of burnt sausage looks terrifying – more Blair Witch Project than Green Wood Guild. If there are no more posts I shall know why.

  6. Kathy Sullivan permalink
    May 21, 2017

    Lovely photos but as a knitter I have to say I was intrigued by Barn’s hat!

  7. stephanie permalink
    May 21, 2017

    Hello, is it still possible to pick up some spoons from between Fri-Tues at: 260 Hackney Rd, E2 7SJ. 10am – 5pm. I’d love some.

  8. May 21, 2017

    I just read all the Barn the Spoon posts… I love this blog. And now I want a spoon ♥

  9. Robin permalink
    May 21, 2017

    Does this mean Barn will have some new spoons on his website soon?

    May 22, 2017

    Thank you again for today’s interesting story and lovely photographs of Barn the Spoon!
    I would like to mention that in the South of Chile, where I live, and particularly in the Island of Chiloé, there are still people (mostly men) who make their own kitchenware (plates, spoons, small knifes and so on) by carving wood in traditional ways. In the last 15 years or so, some of them have been selling their work in shops as well, and they make a welcome change in our town kitchens!
    I very much look forward to be able to buy Sam’s book and hopefully to know more about the Green Wood Guild!

    María Eugenia Góngora

  11. May 22, 2017

    I love Barn, I love his spoons. I can think of no better way to spend a May weekend than like this. Frankly, openly and hugely envious.

  12. May 22, 2017

    What an absolute joy this post is. Barn the Spoon is amazing and the photo essay of his day was fabulous. Such great skills, evocative of a long-long time ago and yet essential we don’t lose the craftsmanship. I love the way he takes his spoon from acorn via tree selecting, felling and eventually shaping. Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders without the rain. Thanks again Gentle Author and colleagues. Nicola

  13. May 23, 2017

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

    Love & Peace

  14. Nib West permalink
    July 8, 2017

    Interesting how in one of your videos you move the object being shaped and not the knife which is contrary to what most people would do.

    Before hearing of you on Saturday live I had never heard of you. Found your comments interesting as I always at Country Fares seek out the wood workers with their pole lathes and draw knives etc. and watch fascinated as they effortlessly split wood to very thin slices among other things I then looked you up on the Internet. Thank you for your interesting comments including putting a name to the bent knife.

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