The Santa Cruz Mountains Makers Market is just around the corner and Trail Bound co got one of the last booths. I really like this market, it’s in my small town in Felton but close enough for my friends in Santa Cruz to come visit, plus if they do they can make a day of it and hike around henry cowel or fall creek. The thing I like most about being in a makers market (behind seeing old friends and meeting people in my area) is that it gives me an excuse to finish all the projects that have accumulated. It varies between pieces that were only roughed out with an axe to ones that need that final detailing with a knife to ones that just need a few coats of oil. Seeing all these projects through gave me time to reflect on the type of treen i’ve been making. A big focus of mine is to make things that people will actually use as I think that having thoughtfully made things in your day to day helps drive more thoughtfully made things in life. I do realize a lot of people buy these pieces with intent to only use for special occasions, i’m not sure if that’s because we’re not used to using wood or because they end up costing more than your average chinese stamped utensil. In paying attention to my own habits I found that the spoons I was making (and kept for myself to use) tended to sit on the shelf more than I realized, I found that in my eating habits I used forks more than spoons and although I use my wood spork for camping I like having that special utensil for that occasion rather than letting the spork work it’s way into my day to day. With this in mind my recent work has been less around spoons and more around the things that I get a lot of use out of like; combs, rhythm playing spoons, spatulas and scoops.
The first whittling of my adult life was a cherry comb. Out of necessity for a wide tooth comb my long thick hair and inspired by the smooth rocks of the San Lorenzo river—my lucky comb. I carried that comb on all my job interviews, thesis reviews and camping trips to this date. It’s worked great and since then i’ve made a wider version that I keep in my bathroom for daily use. Whether it’s through the hair or on the beard it works perfectly to get through tangles and the feeling against your scalp is something a piece of plastic won’t leave you with.
Originally made with a short straight handle to fit in my backpacking food kit, it quickly became a favorite and transition into my kitchen. I love the way the head of the spatula has worn from the hot pan and many different food it’s cooked. It’s rigid structure works perfectly for scrapping the pan before washing, which is super helpful when camping or at home (I’m not a soaker, I always wash things after a meal). It took me a long time to make another spatula, maybe it was because my current one was working so well but for some reason It didn’t cross my mind to make them to sell. However, recently i’ve started making more of them and playing with different shape heads and adding in the bent handle which first starts with a log that has a bend in it, so as to add strength through the already bent wood fibers.
A big part of why I got into spoon making was to better understand woodworking: wood species, carving, sharpening, finishing ect and therefore be able to make instruments. Don’t let the small size full you, the playing spoons hold their own in a jam. You can produce simple rhythms or complex melodies through different patterns and hand positions. Like carving spoons, I work on it until it looks and feels right however, there’s an added step of tuning. Depending on the wood density, thickness of the handle, where the handle is positioned, space between the spoons and shape of spoon bowl all changes the dynamic. It involves spending a lot of time with the spoons to to finess the tone and get them to sound good (to my ear). Like guitars I feel like the more they are played the better they sound so all thought the carving process (and after they’re done) I noodle around with little rhythms that adds to the making experience.
A big thank you to all the folks that have been there for me to bounce ideas off of, hooked me up with logs, told me about hardwood tree locations, and shared some knowledge: Mike Hernandez, Jackson Allen, Jack Allen, Dude with the trailer bike in Boulder Creek, Dave Reuss, Randi Oh, Anthony Quiroz, Barbra Holmes, Dave Reuss, Troy Turvey, Erin Standley, Cortney Cassidy, Jeannine Englander, Trevor Perelson and all the folks who have supported me on m y journey of melding design, art and making.
After the market I'll be updating the Trail Bound Store with new stock but I hope that you will be able to make it out Saturday!