This is my vision above all else: to pursue the boundaries of wood, and find within the true creative process, a freedom that captivates the mind, body, and soul.
I've often said that it was my goal to carve wood into exquisite treasures, but this means nothing if I can't discover what it means to be truly alive and well.
I started out my hobby of spoon making with very little knowledge about woodworking. My background wasn't in carpantry or woodworking, so, I had a rough start. Later this new found hobby of mine would turn out to be a full-time career. For the most part, I've been self-taught. I picked up a few videos of spoon makers and developed a few skills and techniques as I tried new techniques and ideas learned from other spoon makers. As time went on, I developed a system that works for me and has proven to be effective in producing functional pieces that work well in the kitchen. Some days, I find it hard to believe that I can pull a piece of rough lumber from the stacks and turn it into a kitchen utensil. Not vary many people could do that. Sometimes my pieces are magical, sometimes they are dysfunctional, and yet they always turn out to be useful works of art. I like to say art because this is what I would like to call my work. Even though my work is functional the design and thought process has always been a balance of art, skill, and personal style. I revisit the templates I've created over the years, and adjust them according to my customers feedback. This year, I'll be looking into making measuring cups and ingredient bowls. These will complement my tablespoon measuring set and still hold true to my classic ideas. Only time will tell if they turn out to be a success.
I was recently working on a few projects in my shop that had to do with building my show stock up and suppling a few local stores for their summer inventories. This picture was taken at my workbench after I had finished a few double measuring spoons. I was checking the bowl depth and angle. To calibrate these types of measuring spoons I use salt measures to the right quantity. This step takes a little practice because there is always a little more sanding to do. Taking away too much wood will result in a fine piece of kindling for the fire. You can always take wood away, but it's really hard putting it back.
Updated news from the Studio:
I'll be involved in opening a new Artisains Co-op in Freeport, Maine this May. My work will be there along with many other fine Artists and Artisains from Maine will be sold there. The Grand Opening will be announced soon.
Here's a look at the artisans mark that I place on each of my utensils. The mark starts with initials "JW" then the year the utensils was made, and then the number of the piece. I start in January counting each piece. So January starts with numbers 1,2,3, etc…. I'll usually end December in the 1000's. This picture was taken in February 2015, and I'm already at number 85 for the year. I average about 100 pieces per month plus or minus.
Why do you number your pieces?
I number my pieces because each one is unique. I do all of them by hand and no two are alike. There are always some variations in each piece, so, each is uniquely different from the rest. The wood grain is different, and my technical skills will hopefully get better with time. I really try to focus on making a great kitchen tool, something that would feel great in the hand and be fun to cook with. I have techniques and processes that leave me happy at the end of the day. It's really cool knowing that I've made something that's going to last a really long time.
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