I booked the wood carving for my boyfriend and I, as it is something he has always wanted to try.
The experience was great and it was nice to take a day out of London to be surrounded by nature. We all chose a big piece of green wood and had the opportunity to create whatever we wanted using all of the tools available. There were two knowledgable guys walking around to help with anything and they were both very friendly so I didn't mind asking 'stupid' questions.
One thing to be aware of is there isn't much structure to the day, which I think suits people who are a bit more experienced and want to spend hours carving their own project. Because I've never done wood carving before I would have preferred some structured 'how to' sections to the day for people wanting to learn the basics. It's quite pricey so it would be nice to walk away having learnt different techniques.
I was gifted a voucher for the sculptural green wood carving for my 40th birthday, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
As a hobbyist woodworker, I'm normally striving for straightness, squareness and precision. Green wood carving is more abstract yet more forgiving, allowing a more flexible and intuitive approach to creativity. There is great satisfaction in chipping away at the work-piece and seeing the shape slowly emerge and evolve.
The day itself was relaxed and friendly, with a wide variety of people - individuals, couples and families - sharing the experience, with a roaring campfire nearby and a plentiful supply of tea.
We also had the opportunity to help plant a new crop of willows to help improve and develop the site.
Superb course - Stephen was an absolutely brilliant teacher, taking us through the basics but getting us started on the practical stuff quickly and mentoring us through it. The whole ambience and atmosphere of the HQ is wonderfully earthy and authentic, and the morning course was an absolute delight. A fantastic introduction to wood-carving.
Most excellent afternoon with Stephen the yoda of spoon carving! Zen workshop to understand and learn the basics of carving wood and the basics of carving safety to go with it. Whole array of tools and techniques shown that 1 day later I’ve already forgotten but great to learn and I walked away with the basics of a spoon!!
To start, this was something I had no experience in and had only really wanted to see what it was about and get an idea as to what was involved.
Steven the lovely gentleman who runs it was so welcoming from start to finish. He is so knowledgeable and you can tell this is his passion and he loves to do it.
He explains the processes and how everything works, he shows the techniques and helps you understand how and why we work with the wood the way we do, from everything of what to do, to what not to do.
It's so interesting and gives you a real insight into sculpting wood and the different types of wood you can work with after. It gets down to the bones of a lost art form and its great for any beginners.
Jake who also helps out is on hand to help understand and tackle any tricky bits, he really helped me develop my technique.
All in all I came away with something that resembled a spoon, learnt how to use all the tools and for the price it's a fantastic day out and something out of the ordinary to go and try! Both guys are really interesting to talk to in general and I had a good laugh with them which is always important they are tentative and are soooo helpful too! Go down and see them both!
I attended one of Stephen's spoon carving courses under a parachute canopy in the woods last Saturday. Having done some spoon carving at home, the session was for me an opportunity to pick up some hints and thoughts while enjoying the experience of working in the open air with like minded people. It certainly ticked those boxes plus will shift my approach to carving in a holistic way. I also enjoyed the added benefit of Stephens insight into other forms of carving to boot which may well lead to other things for me. Excellent!
Brilliant class.....learned loads in a very short time....and came away with a recognisable piece of work at the end of it all.....it was hard not to soak up the teachers passion for his craft....thinking of doing his one day outdoor workshop at some point.
Such a lovely evening. And learned so much and came home with a spoon! Stephen’s calm expertise gave us time to experience working with many different tools - two types of axe, two types of saw and a fair number of different knives and other carving tools. In just two and a half hours a branch of a greenwood willow tree transformed into seven spoons! All first attempts and all unique. Some might say they were a bit of a rough ‘chip of the old block’ but I love mine! The added bonus was that, after spending such a pleasant, productive and concentrated evening working on a creative task with others, I was so chilled that I felt as if I had just spent two weeks relaxing on a beautiful beach. Highly recommended.
What a fantastic full day 'Spoon Carving for Beginners' class! Stephen is such a warm and humorous person to be around, fantastically creative in - and knowledgable about - all forms of sculpture, so great to learn from. He guided us through the tools and techniques expertly, with great judgement about when to leave us to it to work by ourselves, and when to intervene, so making the day feel less of a group lesson and more about a process of discovery for each of us. Throughly recommend doing the whole day, as those who had only booked to do the half day had a good intro, but it was clearly not long enough to complete a spoon as a first timer. Thanks a million Stephen, we will be back for more!
Didn’t really know what to expect but it turned out a most enjoyable afternoon. Started by splitting a willow log, and whilst learning about the tools along the way, ended up with a spoon....of sorts...but I was a beginner. Recommend this course
Fantastic workshop! Stephen was a great tutor and was incredibly patient with me, with it being my first time carving and working in 3D. I learnt so much about different types of wood, their properties and a range of tools and techniques for wood carving. I would definitely recommend for beginners and more experienced carvers!
I was not sure what to expect but it is always nice to learn new things. How to cut the wood, split the wood, use a whittling knife correctly, safely. Then to be taught in such a relaxed informal atmosphere with such nice people. Then to discover that I really enjoyed the whole creative process and that the time seemed irrelevant. It was so absorbing. Really magical stuff that I would recommend to anyone. I will be back soon. Thank you so much Steve for giving access to people like me to such an ancient art.
Far and away the most enjoyable course I've ever taken! Right from the beginning, Steven is warm, welcoming, funny and friendly. He distils decades of artistry into a few hours, introducing you to a wealth of tools, techniques and types of wood and above all making it incredibly interesting and engaging. It all starts gently enough but before long you'll be utterly absorbed in discovering the Art that lies buries beneath the wood, with expert guidance and encouragement. Thoroughly recommended!
I attended the spoon carving for beginners evening last week and found Stephen to be an excellent teacher. I learnt to use the axe and the knives and by the end of two and a half hours I had a rough spoon shape. I purchased some tools from Stephen so that I could finish the spoon at home. It took me another 4 or 5 hours to finish it. There is a very nice relaxed atmosphere in the workshop and I really enjoyed talking about spoons for a few hours. Highly recommended.
Had an absolutely lovely evening with Stephen learning the basics of green woodworking to make my first spoon which I then presented to my niece for her birthday. Everything about the workshop is wonderful but I particularly liked the relaxed and almost meditative atmosphere that Stephen facilitates. Someone mentioned that after your first spoon carving class you won't be able to walk through the woodlands the same ever again, all around you'll be looking at branches and fallen trees seeing their potential inner spoons. I've certainly got the bug, thanks for introducing me to a life skill.
Such an amazing day with Stephen! It was such a relaxing day and so informative too! Has made me want to do more carving and now I’m a bit jealous of those who purchased a knife! Thanks Stephen! Hope to see you again xxx
A really great course for anyone wanting to try a new skill. Stephen is a great teacher - knowledgeable, patient, encouraging and funny. A really great couple of hours to spend a morning - and not a half bad spoon to take home at the end! Very much recommended.
This was the first time I have ever tried any kind of woodcraft, and I absolutely loved this course. It was a great way to learn various skills that can be transferred to more complicated items later on. I loved the atmosphere in the studio, and felt very comfortable to ask for assistance when needed. The instructions were always very clear, and it was very rewarding to see the progression to the finished piece. I will definitely be booking more courses here in the future!