I spent two and a half days learing how to carve a Brittany style Party Spoon. These spoons were used mostly on special ocassions, most likely when there was a marriage in town as early as 1850’s. Multiple couples would get married at once, so thousands of folks would arrive together for the ocassion, as wedding parties back then lasted three days. Many of the spoons were also foldable, as well as very ornate to celebrate in the party.
Currently this particular kind of spoon now only has about three known makers in France. There are no records on who the original carvers of these spoons were, but based on the many photos Jane shared with us, it is obvious that many of the spoons had a particular style to them, and that one person probably made many spoons at a time. As far as she knows, there were no guilds in France to keep the trade a secret. So it’s kind of a mystry why and how this tradition faded away. FEAR NOT... Jane has not only figured out how to carve these spoons, and how to inlay the wax all on her own by trial and error, but she also figured out how to make a folding spoon. On her own. With no instruction. Not only are Janes spoons amazing, so is her brain.
For our part of Minneapolis the true mark of spring’s end is Art-A-Whirl weekend. One of the largest art crawls in the US, Art-A-Whirl sprawls over the weekend of May 18th, 19th and 20th and 3 square miles of Northeast Minneapolis. Our cozy studio is a bit off the beaten path but we are doing out best to bring the festivities to our block. We’ve invited 16 artists to share our space and show off their work.
Starting Friday May 18th at 5:00 we will open our studio, AirBnB and back yard to the public. You will have a chance to meet the artists, check out the gallery in apartment above the studio and watch demonstrations on axe carving and bowl turning in the back yard area. Kids sewing activities and face painting will also be happening. We are excited to bring visitors to our part of NE Minneapolis and carry on the Art-A-Whirl tradition.
Friday May 18th, 5:00-10:00 pm
Saturday May 19th, noon-8:00 pm
Sunday May 20th, noon-5:00 pm
There will be plenty of free parking in front of our studio on Johnson St NE, 28th & 29th Ave NE.
Have you ever wondered how to enter a piece of crop art into the State Fair?? Well here's your chance to learn how to do so. Guest instructor and ribbon winner Liz Schreiber will be in our studio Saturday April 14th to guide you on your own piece of crop art. We are super excited to have Liz in our studio sharing her secrets to success. Tickets to this class are limited, and available in our online shop on the SHOP page.
As the snow melts (finally) it is a gentle reminder that the biggest event of the year, Art-A-Whirl is right around the corner. May 18,19 & 20th is when all of North East Minneapolis opens its studio doors to the public. Also, one of the biggest art crawls in America. This year we are showing our work along with 10 or more artist/makers in our building. Because our building is outside the "arts district" and up the hill on Johnson Street NE, it makes our space a bit unique, as we are out of the hustle and bustle of lower North East Mpls.
We will have the front door to our apartment open for you to enter the upstairs where our showcase apartment will have all the artist/makers work on display to give you an idea of how you can display pieces in your own home. Down stairs in our studio, we'll have spoon carving demonstrations and more selections of the artists works. Outside there will be axing demonstrations, and plenty of room in our back garden area for a bonfire. So if you like to keep your Art-A-Whirl weekend a bit more chill, this is the place to be.
We look forward to sharing our space with you.
We are very excited to have guest instructor Lisa Taglia at our studio to teach a mending class inspired by Japanese boro. A generic translation of boro means "too good to waste", and dates back to the nineteenth century and into the twentieth when the Japanese rural poor only had access to homespun cloth made from hemp and flax, and also limited to only a few colors of dye, indigo, grey, brown and black. Said farmers would be involved in planting, taking care of, and harvesting the planets that would then be turned into fibers for fabric, and dyes. There were no trips to the store to get new clothes for the kids when the weather turned cold, you imagine, every piece of fabric was very valuable, and used as clothes, until it could no longer be worn, then turned into futon covers and floor rugs and passed on through many generations. A stark difference to the disposable lifestyle we have become accustomed to today.
That said, bring in your favorite pair of jeans, a shirt, or whatever you've been meaning to mend, and Lisa will teach you how to mend it . This class is for all learning levels, and will be held on Earth Day, April 22nd from 9:00-12:00 pm. Keep your favorite clothes alive a few more years, it'll make you happy, and the earth happy too.
It’s nice to have something fun to look forward to when Old Man Winter has been an unwelcome guest for far too long. Yesterday I registered our family for the Milan Spoon Gathering in Milan MN. We are looking forward to this annual event in the midst of spring. A long weekend of sitting next to about 200 carvers of all different skill levels from all over the USA and from across the pond, is definitely something to look forward to. The spoon carving event happens May 31-June 2. We hope to see some of you local carvers over there this spring.
If you’d like to attend a spoon carving class to work on specific skills, you can make it s a five day affair. which is what I’m doing. I’ll be headed out a few days before my family to take a spoon carving class with Jane Mickelborough from Brittany, France. This is a wonderful opportunity to take class with a wildly talented woman, and my first course that is instructed by a woman, which also makes me very happy.... and a spoon carving class so close to home!
This past weekend we went to the American Swedish Institute to participate in the opening of Craft BOWL. The installation runs through April, and I highly recommend you go see it. Friday night there was a show with Jögge Sundqvist telling his story while making a shrink box. It was an amazing multi media show with music, images and carving! Jögge is a green wood carver and folk artist working in the “slöyd” craft tradition of Scandinavia. He is a skilled craftsman steeped in traditional methods as well as a thoughtful and innovative artist. A great show and a chance to talk to a lot of carvers and crafters in attendance we haven’t seen in a while. All in all an excellent night.
Hey! We just added a heart carving class for those of you who would like to dabble in carving, but don’t want to commit to carving a spoon. Think of this as an intro to your new favorite hobby. We know once you get a taste of green wood carving, you’ll want to come back for more. This class is one of our shorter classes and taught by Michele.
2017 was a big year for us. And we couldn't be more grateful. We moved our studio back into our building on Johnson St in NE Mpls in January and really started to focus on what we wanted to do with the space and our new business. A fresh start, a new year, a new/old studio and lots of ideas. We took every opportunity that came our way and just said "yes". And it really paid off.
In the spring we went to the Milan Spoon Gathering and met many new friends, and saw many familiar faces. Learning and watching carvers with many more years experience is always a treat. In early summer we were excited to be a part of a show at Light Grey Art Lab called THE NEW NORTH. Throughout the spring and summer we participated in various demonstrations at Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace and the American Swedish Institute showing folks how we carve our spoons. We taught spoon carving classes in our studio, at the Norway House and Ingebretsen's, we even had a guest instructor and met a Swedish carver who we've admired afar on Instagram in our new studio. Late fall and early winter we participated in many different pop up shops and long time craft sales. We were honored to be chosen for the 13th annual No Coast Craft - O - Rama sale, a big step for us to getting into the swing of this type of event.
And at the end of the year, we received notice that we were finalist to a contest we had entered with the Minneapolis St Paul Magazine "Made in North" contest. This has been the most exciting news we've ever gotten. Not only did we get a page of ink and some great photos in the magazine, but today Ali Kaplan, style editor for MSPMAG, talked about and showed off our spoons on local tv show, The Buzz . We were blushing with pride as we watched the piece..... what a year.
None of this could not have happened without the support of our family, friends and our local community. And for that we are forever grateful. Thank you everyone for your help and support. It means the world to us to be able to do what we love doing most, carving. 2018... we will keep saying "yes".
.Today we were excited to see our spoons in a photo for an article written by our friend Steve Hoffman for the Star Tribune titled Secret Ingredients in the Taste section. Mary Jo Hoffman (Steve's partner in crime) is the talented photographer who took the photos and used our spoons for the shoot. Steve and Mary Jo have been an inspiration to us for many years. They have somehow figured out how to keep "the art of creating" a part of their daily lives, and we've admired them for the discipline they have dedicated to it. (The photo of our spoons is only in the printed edition of the paper)