Most of what I do is obsolete; historical affectations. Wooden spoons and bowls? Quarterboards for sloops and schooners? Carved eagles for transoms? All joyously obsolete. And that’s the point.
As a craftsman, I am not part of the daily deluge of ticky-tack produced frenetically and repeatedly by injection molding machines, CNC routers, and the near slave labor of an Asian factory. What I do is not artwork. It’s just real craft.
Someone I know took a set of cherry spoons and spatulas I made for her and mounted them in her kitchen as a sort of art installation. I was flattered but insisted that the point of treen ( wooden spoons, bowls, and such) was to be used. A machine’s purpose is to batch out as many identical items as possible. That’s not what craft is all about. There may be a tradition within which you work that dictates some design constraints, but each piece stands on its own.

Unfortunately, if you come to me and want a dozen of the same, you are out of luck. So instead, I’ll go to the cherry woodpile, pick out some likely wood, and create some spoons. Of course, there will be a family resemblance, I like certain types of curves and undulations, but I have no urge to make repeats.

I’m prejudiced. I think everyone should own some item of true craft as a reminder that not all things are manufactured or can be. We already live in a world where the pressure of conformity guarantees that we buy the same fabricated goods to furnish nearly identical houses.
So take a crafted spoon or bowl into your hands as a reminder that the unique is not gone. You have to search for it and value it when you find it.

5 Replies to “Unique”

  1. Isn’t that fun. How everything starts from traditional, becomes obsolete and then returns again. Are those bowls yours? They’re very beautiful.
    I saw a documentary autumn last year I think about a lady who spends her days making spoons. She makes so much money carving them its unbelieveble. But because ithey’re all unique and pretty people love them.

  2. I thought I’d written a comment on this one about a wooden candy dish we have thanks to my friends’ father-in-law, but maybe not?! Anyway, we treasure its one of a kind nature! It’s a focal point in our front foyer.

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