Spend a day in the woods at Dartington spoon carving with the legend that is Barn the Spoon. ‘London’s most famous and charismatic spoon whittler’ – The Guardian.
A respected leader in the craft, Barn teaches both in the UK and internationally, and the burgeoning popularity in spoon carving over the last decade is widely attributed to him.
He says that he aims to teach safe and efficient techniques, and not just to focus on the product during the class but to provide participants with a strong skillset which enables them to continue their learning at home.
“For me, each spoon I craft is akin to a performance of a song – the dance of axes and knives and the character of the wood itself are captured in three dimensions as a performance, then spoons as sculptures go off into the world to communicate my own attempts at making sense of the nature of things. And if that communication fails, then at least someone can stir the food in their pan and transport it from bowls to mouths.”
Barn has loved woodwork since he was a child, and spent his teens turning bowls, making wooden jewellery and tackling abstract sculpture. He ended up doing a woodland-based chair making apprenticeship, followed by three years travelling around the country, making and peddling hand-carved wooden spoons on the streets of the Britain’s towns and cities. In 2012 Barn opened his now-notorious spoon shop in east London.
In 2017, Penguin published Barn’s first book, Spon: A Guide to Spoon Carving and the New Wood Culture, which sets out his vision of functional sculpture through 16 different styles of spoons.
READ MORE: We caught up with Barn ahead of his visit to Dartington to find out more about the man behind the legend >