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In-person course

Spoon carving at Walderchain Wood, Canterbury with Mark Saich and Jill Swan

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About the Course

Your tutors will guide you through the process from selecting a log through to a completed spoon.

About the tutors:

Mark Saich

Originally trained as a carpenter/joiner, Mark has worked as an eco-builder, sustainable construction consultant and trainer. He has a degree in Environmental Sciences, obtained a post graduate diploma at the Centre of Alternative Technology. He now owns and lives in 23 acres (the venue) of woodland practicing green woodworking and sustainable woodland management.

Jill Swan

Studied sculpture at Kennington art school. She took up spoon carving shortly after buying woodland outside Canterbury in 2007. She now teaches up and down the UK and demonstrates at country shows, festivals, fetes and Bushcraft shows.

The session includes:
* Tool review - an overview of the various tools available for spoon carving and similar projects
* Timber selection - what type of wood and what parts of the log are best and what to avoid
* Spoon design - overview of the proportions and features of spoons for different uses
* Cleaving/splitting timber - use of axe and froe for reducing thickness of wood
* Safe and effective axe and knife skills - demonstration and practicing numerous axe and knife techniques to enable you shape timber
* Finishes - information of various types of product to protect

At the end of the session you will leave with all your fingers, a spoon and the confidence to carve on your own. The classes are hosted within an ancient woodland site. The class is a perfect starting point for anyone thinking about taking up green woodworking or spoon carving and for novice spoon carvers wishing to improve.

There is a maximum of 6 places per class. If none of the dates suit get in touch as we can often arrange bespoke classes.



About the venue:

When the weather permits the classes will be held in a semi-covered woodland clearing, at other times in a well equipped workshop, situated in 23 acres of ancient woodland in the Elham valley area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).
The woodland is managed to continuously supply timber as a material and fuel, to enhance biodiversity and natural stability and for amenity value.

Booking:

Please click the "Ask a question" button to get in touch for booking details and to enquire about the availability of places.
I typically reply within hours - please check your spam folder if you don't receive a reply.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Use of tools
Wood for carving
Refreshments - Tea, Coffee, Biscuits etc
Lunch - Homemade and local produce, will cater for dietary requirements

Contact

Mark Saich at Walderchain Wood
Woodland Farm
Walderchain
Canterbury
Kent
CT4 6NS
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Gold Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.

The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.

They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.

Suitable for

  • Accommodation offered
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • Intermediate level
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Teenagers

Available as a gift

Learn about gift vouchers

Price:

£80

Duration:

One day


Available dates:

Reviews

In-person course
- - #29658

Really good day out. Excellent instructions and genuine hands on experience from log to spoon. Really fun and would recommend.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for your review. Glad you enjoyed the day.
All the best
Mark

In-person course
- - #29651

Excellent day at Walderchain Woods, everything was explained well, great tools and environment to do the course. Strongly recommend.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for your review. It was a great day, glad you enjoyed it.
ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #26073

I booked the course as an anniversary present for my husband and I. We had an absolutely fabulous day out in the woods spending some quality time together!
Mark and Jill are brilliant teachers, sharing their skill and knowledge. We had a great time picking up a new craft surprisingly quickly! We both headed home with spoons to be proud of and all of our fingers still in place!
The food was lovely, the setting authentic and the company friendly! Brilliant day! Would recommend to anyone!!

In-person course
- - #25575

The day was fantastic and the team were brilliant. I have not only gone out and bought my own axe and bits but have treated my brothers to the same fun. Wonderfully relaxing and a great environment.

Thanks to all the team.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Luke
Thank you for your review, glad you enjoyed the day and have caught the bug...
Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labours...

ATB
Mark, Cristina and Jill

In-person course
- - #24953

I purchased this as a gift for myself, and could not have made a better choice. The venue is is beautiful and very relaxing. Mark and Jill are very friendly, welcoming and generous with their instruction and advice. The whole day was one to remember. I have learnt a set of new skills, and have the confidence now to continue independently. I highly recommend this course.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Aileen,
Thank you for taking the time to review the class.
We're glad you got so much out of the day. Looking forward to seeing your next spoons.
Have fun.
ATB
Mark, Cristina and Jill

In-person course
- - #24936

Read more

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Ben,
Thank you for such a nice review.
It was a great day spent with lovely people, so glad you enjoyed the day.
ATB
Mark, Cristina and Jill

In-person course
- - #23392

I bought this as a present for my husband, Kevin. We both had a great time. The location makes for a special setting to learn wood carving.

Mark was very good and very generous with his knowledge. He was patient throughout and ensured everyone had something resembling a spoon at the end of the day.

There was something very restful about working in the woods and all you could hear was the tools tapping on wood. With the smell of wood smoke coming from the fire pit (on which your elevenses was brewed) just added to the whole atmosphere.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in learning how to wood carve.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Fiona,

Thank you for your review. We're glad you both enjoyed your day here and that Kevin is keen to continue with the spoon carving. Maybe we'll see you back here sometime.

ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #23390

I had a brilliant day and can't recommend this enough.
Mark and Christina are great hosts. You learn so much in a fantastic setting. Mark knows his stuff and passes it on in a very relaxed but informed way.
Lunch was brilliant too. I loved it. If you've any interest in this kind of thing just book it. You won't be disappointed.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Greg

Thank you for your review and so glad you enjoyed your day.

All the best

Mark and Cristina

In-person course
- - #22981

My son, his partner, my best friend and me all have a birthday within a couple of weeks of each other, what better way to celebrate than spending a day in the woods with Mark and Christina learning to carve spoons. They are wonderful hosts. The course is very gentle and Mark's is a brilliant teacher. It was nice to meet the other carvers, the food was delicious... And we made some surprisingly reasonable spoons. We would all come back again and thoroughly recommend Walderchain Woods.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Tony
Glad to hear you all enjoyed the class. It was a lovely day and group did great.
Hope to see you here again..
ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #22632

Some friends arranged for my husband and I to participate on this course as a wedding present. We went as a four, without much expectation nor any experience in carving wood..and we had the most amazing day! It was a brilliant gift idea, extremely therapeutic, satisfying and fun to do with good friends in an incredible setting. Mark is a fantastic teacher. He is calm, patient, very knowledgable yet relatable. He really encouraged us to become confident with our equipment, and each one of us made a beautiful hand carved wooden spoon as a result! Cristina was also warm and welcoming, and made us a delicious lunch during our midday break. Walderchain Wood is a beautiful, natural environment where the birds sing and the leaves are green. I couldn't recommend more. 5 stars!

In-person course
- - #22606

What a great experience! Mark was a very attentive and patient teacher, we came away from the course having gained many transferable craft techniques.

The 'king' provided was absolutely delicious, with lots of fresh produce and a cake!

Would highly highly recommend to anyone!

10/10

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Dan, thank you for the review. The day was a blast, I had a wonderful time. You all made great spoons.
Long live the king ;)

In-person course
- - #22520

You guys! I nearly cried. Not because I was sad but because you actually helped me get over my fear of very sharp pointy knives. So if you think you are too weedy to handle a whacking great axe or deal with sharp tools - think again. I have a genuine phobia and the patience and care I was shown was worth 3 years of therapy! I also made a pretty nifty spoon and enjoyed a hilarious lunch with fellow spooners. You only get nice people doing this course. You will make a spoon. You will have fun. What's not to like?

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Isobelle, now you have got a 'handle' on the blades there will be no stopping you! Great to have have you here and glad you got so much out of the day.
ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #22477

A very enjoyable day, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The instructions were clear, concise and to the point.
I feel it is necessary to have reasonable manual dexterity to get the most out of the day.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for your kind words. Glad you enjoyed the day. You're right a reasonable level of manual dexterity is required but no super human skill or energy...
ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #22468

Read more

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Luke,
Thank you for the review.
Youtube vids can be great as long as you watch the right ones. Hopefully the links I sent you will help develop your technique further.
Great spoon from you on the day, we have high expectations for you and look forward to seeing your next creations.
TTFN
Mark

In-person course
- - #21565

What a fantastic day! Thank you so much Mark and Jill for providing such an inspirational course. Your enthusiasm, thoroughness, patience and support gave me great confidence and I was so proud of what I achieved. And to be working in such magical surroundings in the middle of a bluebell wood. It was a very full day, so much excellent advice on techniques, types of wood, tools, health and safety.Thank you too Christina for a feast of a lunch and cake! I could not recommend this course enough. This would make a memorable and superb gift. Just loved it.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

It was a great day, so glad I held the class outside - the weather so much better than the forecast. Glad you enjoyed it all.
All the best
Mark

In-person course
- - #20215

Thanks a lot for a great day, it was thoroughly enjoyable and I am proud of my efforts and resulting spoon (though my kids are less impressed ;-). The setting is spot on, the teachers are knowledgeable and super friendly and the tools very sharp indeed (lol!). I will be back with my friend for sure. If anyone is reading this comment, do not hesitate, do this workshop, you won't regret it one bit, I give you my word!

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for your review.
We're glad you enjoyed the day. Love to see you back here, if you come in the summer months we should be out in the woodland teaching area.
ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #17860

I’ve just had a fantastic day, thank you Mark! I absolutely loved it and am seriously keen to continue carving! The setting was perfect, and for the first time in a long while, I completely lost track of time. Wonderful!

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the day and glad to hear you want to do more. Spending the whole day in the wood was good 'de-compression' for me too. All the best, Mark

In-person course
- - #17159

What a fantastic day in a beautiful setting with such friendly, patient, passionate and knowledgeable teachers. I can't wait to it again!! Not because I was particularly proud of my spoon but because I had enjoyed the process and methods of making it so much. By lunchtime you become completely immersed in the craft and switch off from the outside world. Thank you Mark and Jill

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for you review.
Glad you enjoyed your day.
Lots more classes next year if you do fancy a return trip.

In-person course
- - #17156

I've now done this course twice, which I guess says something in itself !
The first time was with my 8 year old son. Mark & Jill were (rightly !) concerned about an 8 year old doing the spoon carving course given how sharp the tools are and the coordination required. They remained immensely professional about it but facilitated making it possible for Oscar to take part just like any adult. Both he and I has such an amazing day. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. Just DO IT ! 2 years later and following a 2nd trip where I brought our whole office to carve spoons out of logs we all still talk about it very fondly. I'm also pleased to say that 2 years later we're still using all the spoons we made :-) You can never have enough wooden spoons. Think I need to organise another trip . . . !

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Glad you both enjoyed your day.
Oscar did really well - amazing work for an 8 year old.

In-person course
- - #16786

I had a great day on Saturday in the woods carving my spoon, with some lovely company and great tuition from Mark. Lunch was good too! Wonderful opportunity to do something different in a lovely location. I would also recommend it as my fellow spooner has! I would love to have another go.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you for your review.

I'm glad you enjoyed the day and are up for more!

All the best
Mark

In-person course
- - #16728

My 13yr old son Conor and I had a lovely day yesterday on the spoon carving course. Mark was a great, patient teacher who has a wealth of knowledge about carving and wood. We had a lovely walk around his woods which was very informative and a great homemade lunch of soup and cake. A great day that I’d highly recommend to anyone interested in outdoor activities.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Thank you very much.

I'm glad you both enjoyed your day.

Lots of tool shopping next, I guess.

ATB
Mark

In-person course
- - #15756

My daughter attended the workshop this weekend and had a wonderful time. She has managed to carve a great spoon even if it was a beginner.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Many thanks for your review.

We're glad Sara enjoyed the class. She did very well. We were particularly impressed with how quickly she took to the axe work.

All the best

Mark

In-person course
- - #15734

Wow, what a day. Mark and Jill are amazing teachers in the art of spoon carving. The workshop is in the most beautiful location and a fantastic lunch was provided by Christina. We had been waiting for a date for a year to do the course due to other commitments but the wait was well and truly worth it. The course is about far more than learning to carve a spoon. You learn all about the tools and how to use them safely, information about what wood to use and a lovely walk around Marks woods. If you are considering doing the couse think no more, get on and book it. You will not be disappointed.

Response from Walderchain Wood:

Many thanks for your review.

We're glad you enjoyed the day.

Watch this page for future classes.

All the best

Mark

In-person course
- - #14501

Beautiful location and blessed with fantastic weather. I had a brilliant day and learnt so much that I can take away and apply myself at home. Mark and Jill are patient and expert teachers that support and guide you throughout the day. Excellent advice on techniques and equipment that you might want to look out for should you choose to take up this art. A delicious home made lunch and a nice walk through the woodland with advice on tree types and things like coppicing and woodland management. I couldn’t have asked for a better first experience spoon carving and have gone away with knowledge that will last a lifetime. Thanks to everyone at Walderchain Wood.

In-person course
- - #12080

Mark very welcoming on arrival and very patient with his teaching. Very hands on and practical. Really had a great day learning how to safely use an axe and different knives. Lunch was wholesome and home made. The best bit was coming away with a spoon that I had carved myself.
Thank you for sharing your skills.

In-person course
- - #11974

A great sunlit day with Mark and Jill at Mark's workshop in autumn-bright beautiful woodland. These two experts gave us excellent hands-on teaching of axe and knife work, tips on wood types and spoon design, plus plenty of tool envy opportunities - all accompanied by much good humour and Chris's fabulous lunch. Thank you!

In-person course
- - #11910

I was looking for an unusual early Christmas present for my partner and this course was brilliant. We had a very good time with Mark and Jill and thanks to their skills and patience, we both managed to carve great spoons, enjoy a delicious meal and have a nice walk in the woods.

In-person course
- - #11868

If you love crafts and want to try something new, this is an unforgettable day’s course.

The skills Mark and Jill have are incredible, they taught me (a complete novice) to carve the most amazing spoon.

I’d thoroughly recommend you to sign up, I would definitely return to learn something else.

Carving is so good for the soul.

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