|Getting back to nature|
"A community based project for people who like to be outdoors in woodlands and being creative, socialising, learning new skills and meeting new friends. Getting back into woodlands and appreciating their value for wildlife, productivity and a sense of well being."
We arrived at 10am and spent the first hour or so chatting, warming our hands around the open fire and drinking coffee (tea and coffee are provided but as water is heavy to carry everyone is asked to bring their own). There was something quite lovely about being sat in the middle of a woodland on a gorgeous autumn morning with smoke form the fire curling around as Tony told us a bit about woodland management and identified the various birds calling from nearby trees.
This was followed by a DVD showing us some key woodworking techniques before lunch and then getting stuck in to some serious spoon making. Everything is about sustainability and that includes the wood working tools - no power tools here (well, there's no power for a start) - but Tony is on hand throughout to make sure you're keeping yourself safe and to help you with your carving techniques.
My woodworking background consists of 6 lessons at school that resulted in a wonky mirror stand which my mum still proudly displays in her bathroom so trust me when I tell you I am a rank amateur.
We started off with a lump of wood which we had to plane down into something rather more spoon sized.
Once we had the basic size about right we drew the outline of a spoon on the wood and began refining our creation. This involved the use of a VERY sharp knife. I'm not good with very sharp knives so, while Steve remained pristine clean, I cursed and swore as I pricked and jabbed myself - but no serious harm done and I did eventually learn how to handle it properly.
I'll be honest, we both intended to make much larger spoons but a few errors along the way resulted in something rather closer to teaspoons than the mixing spoon I'd envisaged at the start. At one point I thought I may end up with a spice spoon or even a matchstick, but Tony's advice and expertise saved the day!
Spoon club was a fantastic experience and we are definitely hooked. Ancient woodlands are under serious threat in this country so the more we can learn about them, and how to work in them and manage them properly, the more chance we have of protecting them.
Spoon club meets on the 2nd Sunday of every month at Brown Robin Nature Reserve and is open to absolutely everyone. We kick off at 10am and finish between 3pm and 4pm depending on the light and the weather. The sessions are run by Tony Saunders who is an expert in woodland management and spoon making (amongst many other things) - there is a small membership charge to cover refreshments, tools and materials. More details can be found on the Facebook Page here.