About the Course
Please note I only run courses for no more than two students at a time. This I believe reduces any negative down time and gives very good value for money.
This is an introductory course in basic techniques needed for spoon carving to give you the confidence and knowledge to build on in your own time. No previous experience necessary and all tools and materials will be provided.
This course will include the initial design of the spoon, selection of wood, safe use of hand tools (axe, saw, knives) and finishing techniques. The emphasis for the day will be to introduce you to the craft in a calm and welcoming environment.
You will be part of a small group of no more than two adults in a lovely woodland setting at Snelsmore Common Country Park near Newbury, Berkshire.
This is a S.S.S.I. (Site of Special Scientific Interest) managed by BBOWT (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust).
Courses are taught in a relaxed woodland environment at Snelsmore Common unless otherwise committed to other events.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
What's included in the price?
Free tea and coffee.
Use of tools for the day and tuition.
All materials supplied.
My husband and I attended this course in November as we wanted to do something that we both would enjoy. Simon and Nigel greated us on a bright but chilly day in their enclosure at Snelsmore Common with a nice warm fire, hot kettle and more importantly a warm welcome.
Nigel took us for most of the day and he freely shared his knoweldge with us so that we both were able to learn the techniques, went away with spoons and wanting to make more. Nigel was also able to suggest adaptations to the techniques for me and the day felt more of a conversation than a class. The spoons that Simon and Nigel make are inspirational. I would recommend the course to anyone who likes the woods and hands on craft as it is a lovely relaxing day. And my christmas present from my husband this year.... a carving set for both of us to use.
Debbie and John - - #19095
The reviews already posted sum up what this spoon carving course is about - a lovely setting, good company, relaxed, great tuition - you'll find this out soon enough when you sign up.
Simon and Nigel were running the course when I went in July. Nigel was our main mentor for the day and he was, quite frankly, a 100% good chap. Simon, what a legend.
There may be some people out there who haven't chopped anything beyond your ham and cheese sandwiches. I was in the same boat before starting the course. As such, you may feel a bit apprehensive about wielding an axe or using a carving knife...but you won't feel this way for long...
Nigel really shows you step by step what to do, how to do things safely, and will do demonstrations throughout the day. It's a patient and calm setting - the best way to get started on learning wood working. It didn't take long before I was really enthralled in what I was slowly creating!
A great day out, and a lot learned that I can now build upon - thank you Nigel and Simon!
Stephen - - #16692
I spent a lovely day on the July spoon carving course and enjoyed every minute.
Simon has the best “office”of anyone I know, surrounded by the woods but with all the necessary facilities.
Nigel’s tuition was clear and well paced and it felt more like time with friends than a lesson. Simon was busy making and dying wood flowers but stopped to offer advice or demonstrate a technique if Nigel was busy.
Having only 2 students per course makes sure everyone gets the input they need without having to wait, which meant the time just flew past and unnecessary mistakes were avoided.
Even the willow log we started with made sure we has a good time, splitting perfectly and carving easily.
The other student opted for a shoulder between the bowl and the handle and a sanded finish. I went for a tapered shape and a knife cut finish but we were both very pleased with our spoons.
I can thoroughly recommend the course and look forward to my next visit to Vallis Green.
Simon Kibble - - #16144
Just had a great day in the woods with Simon and Nigel, can only echo previous comments that it's a relaxed day with great tuition from a couple of proper gents - I learnt a lot and very happy to come away with a spoon shaped object and some fledgling new skills!
Mark Butler - - #10487
A wonderful day last weekend at Snelsmore Common, Newbury, on a spoon carving course, with Vallis Green Woodworking. From a log of Poplar to spoon (actually a spatula, now in use mixing my ponies’ feeds) in a few hours, splitting the log, using a handaxe to define shape, then paring & curved knives for shaping and carving bowl (though the spatula didn’t need much carving). I’m their first student to have completed a fully tooled spoon - ie finished off by knife, not sandpaper! Very chuffed!! Fab instruction from Nigel Wylie, spoon carver extraordinaire and great to watch Simon Vallis working his magic with green wood in many ways. Both men are wonderful, peaceful souls, truly working in harmony with their environment and materials. Apart from a couple of thunderstorms (which meant tools down & under cover as lightening prefers sharp metal) there was a real sense of peace and serenity working amongst the trees, like being in a natural cathedral. Plenty of hot water for drinks courtesy of the wood fire, plus carrot cake topped the day off! In the words of Arnie...”I’ll be back!"
Fiona Webb - - #5927
Very nice course I have learned so much on the day! Simon and Nigel made me very welcome, I would recommend this any one who start to spoon carving! A great day. Thanks Erik.
erik jordens - - #5460
From a log to a spoon in one day...so happy!
Good pace with loads of tips, safety and guidance along the way.
A really good way to learn a new skill in one day.
John Garside - - #4951
Such a perfect setting for the course, working in the dappled sunlight under the trees with nature all around. The hot water for our tea was boiled in a kettle over a fire; it was just an idyllic place to learn spoon carving. Nigel was our instructor for the day. He was very patient with us and worked at just the right pace; it felt relaxed and there was no pressure. At the end of the day I came home with a spoon I'm quite proud of, quite an achievement for a complete novice! I have certainly learnt a lot of new skills on the course and am now hoping to take my new found knowledge further and carve a few more.
Kerry - - #2826
Excellent introductory course, loved the woodland setting which complemented the whole ethos of the course. Nigel was a really good teacher, patient with complete novices, but very experienced so able to share lots of helpful information and techniques. The course was run at the right pace for the participants, but also ensured that we had a completed spoon by the end of the day. Simon also joined us for part of the time and his enthusiasm and knowledge just added to the whole experience. I would recommend this course to anyone who is looking to start working with wood, we started with a log of wood and ended with a great spoon what more could I have asked for.
Jenny Hawker - - #2814
I really enjoyed this course. I have learnt about the different carving techniques using each tool to get a smooth effect on the spoon. It was nice to work in a calm and peaceful environment in the woods. It was relaxing because you didn't feel rushed to get the spoon finished in a set time. The instructors (Simon and Nigel) were friendly and helpful. They were very supportive and we had a few laughs. I liked the tea and biscuits especially as the tea was made by hanging the kettle over the wood fire. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn new skills in carving.
Chris - - #1422
A very enjoyable day spent with a very talented tutor Chris, I spent far too long chatting and not enough time carving my spoon, but hey isn’t that what
‘whittling a stick’ all about? Chris encouraged us to try all the techniques with a wide choice of tools so we could find which worked best for each of us.
I left with a spoon shaped piece of wood and a great deal more understanding of the carving techniques needed to finish this off and today I have just picked up a couple of carving knives to add the ‘finishing touches’ to my very own spoon.
If you want to see some examples of Chris’s spoons; pop into Saddleback farm shop on the B4494.
The woodland location was also superb with Simon keeping us well watered with hot drinks off the fire burning in the background.
If you are in need of a Stress Detox day- book yourself on a course you will not regret it.
PS good luck with the George Lailey project Simon.
Mike Weston - - #1393
Two of us attended the one day spoon carving course at the Vallis Green Woodworking site on Snelsmore Common near Newbury on 26th June 14.
Both Simon and our instructor Chris were enthusiastic and keen for us to learn and enjoy our day as much as possible. We both left at the end of the day with the knowledge to choose a suitable piece of wood and the skills to produce a spoon.
What a brilliant day which has inspired me for more.
Matt Smith - - #1392
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