I first got interested in making things from green wood when I saw Mike Abbots book in the Mushroom Bookshop in Nottingham in 1991. I got a signed copy for Christmas 1993 and the next year made a pole lathe in Dartington under the expert tuition of Sean Helmann. I turned out a fair few candlesticks in Jim and Di McPetries barn in Slapton before moving to Oxford and storing the lathe in the school where I did my teaching practice. I never went to get it back when I moved back to the UK from living in Austria and need to make a new one pretty soon.
With the lack of a lathe and the addition of small children to our household, I needed something to do with wood that was quick, I could do indoors and needed the minimum of tools. The answer was spoons and in 2004 I discovered that carving spoons is dangerously addictive. 7 years and who knows how many spoons later, I started to read more about the art of spoon carving and really look at other makers work with the aim of improving my own. As well as spoons, I now carve lots more things including small bowls, roosters, mushrooms and dragons!.
You can see examples of my varied work in the carving image gallery.
I now run occasional spoon carving or whittling courses for groups of beginners. These cover choice of woods, basic axe and knife skills and safety, item design and funtionality, cuts and grips and a little sharpening. Courses usually take place around a fire in a woodland with plenty of tea, coffee, flapjack and sociable chat. Please email learning at richardirvine.co.uk if you would like to discuss a carving day for a group of up to 8 people.