Reviews for Martin Damen - Maker of Hand-carved Spoons & Bowls
I was given a voucher for a whittling course as a birthday present and what a find it was managing to get on Martins course.
The day was filled with helpful information, advice and hands on whittling, it was great to have something made by your own hands to take home.
I would thoroughly recommend this course and tutor to anyone interested in learning a wood craft.
Got the bug now and also moving on to spoon making soon.
Ian - - #16187
I thoroughly enjoyed the day with Martin. His skills, lifestyle and traditional values are a tonic to what usually fills my mind. When I got back I told my wife that was the best present she ever bought for me – and meant it. I waited a while for my own knife to be delivered by the supplier, but since it did I have enjoyed focusing on the world in my hand instead of the world out there. Highly therapeutic. Getting started is the tough thing with anything new, but I have to say this is a pleasure so far.
simon graveling - - #16184
I have long been interested in traditional crafts and enjoy trying new workshops in the hope of one day finding something I can be good at! This course was given as a birthday present from my family and I was very excited at the prospect of bringing home something I had made myself at the end of the day.
There were only four of us on the course, which meant Martin could give us all the attention we needed, both to keep us safe from sharp tools and to guide us in the craft. He is a very patient tutor and a very knowledgeable woodman. He also serves a delicious homemade lunch (eaten with his own carved spoons!)!
Martin was generous with both his hospitality and his tuition and I had such a creatively fun day!
I would definitely recommend this course and hope to return to do the spoon carving, Thank you Martin.
Karen Hayhoe - - #16163
What can I say that hasn't been said by just about everyone rating this course? Absolutely fantastic. You know the old saying--'those that can, do; those that can't, teach'. In this case you couldn't be further from the truth. I've taken the basic whittling course from Martin a few months ago and was very impressed with his teaching style. With the Spoon Whittling weekend I was impressed even more. More advanced knife work as well as hand axe work (that I was interested in, in particular) that as always starts with safety and good technique. But what impressed me the most was the clear progression of techniques that build upon previously taught and practiced ones. I feel much more comfortable in tackling my own spoons now, although it may take a few decades of practice to even approach the beauty of what Martin has already done! I won't even go into his home-made lunches--but if asking for (and receiving) copies of his recipes is any indication...
If you want to spend 2 days learning a lot, enjoying the company of fellow whittlers, having a Master Class with a warm, humorous teacher, and ending both days with a smile plastered on your face, you can't go far wrong with this course.
Tom McGrath - - #15562
This is an exceptional course, delivered in a beautiful, calm, setting that really highlight Martin's excellent teaching skills. His breadth of experience was evident throughout the course and really enabled him to capture some of the general principles of working with green wood, in just a few simple lessons. Martin was also more than happy to adapt his delicious catering for my dietary requirements.
Came away excited, enthused and not a little surprised I'd actually managed to carve something that looks vaguely like a spoon!
Gareth - - #15418
Was given a voucher for the course as an anniversary present from my wife, and had the best day ever!
Martin's teaching style is excellent--beginning with safety, on to techniques, with discussions of wood choice, sharpening and style, all done with warmth and humour and under the watchful eye of a master craftsman. I would recommend this course to anyone who has the slightest inkling to take up whittling.
I enjoyed this day with 3 other friendly gents on the course, and the lunch was fabulous.
Well Done Martin! See you in a couple of months for the spoon carving weekend.
Tom McGrath - - #14224
Saturday 31st of March. A significant day in my life!!! I attended a whittling course with Martin Damen; if you want to whittle he's your man. Inspired instruction, your every action is observed, monitored, and corrected as needed to achieve your personal skill. No matter what your level of competence now, at the end of the day you will be inspired to pick up a knife and WHITTLE!!
The lunch is good too.
Roy Ingamells - - #14076
I cannot recommend this course highly enough. Martin is a fantastic host and teacher who is always willing to work one on one and provide patient advice to coach you though the wonderful craft of spoon carving.
With the small group size the sessions feel intimate and relaxed which allows everyone to get a grasp of the fundamentals. If you are considering learning a traditional craft this course covers everything you need to get started, in a warm and welcoming environment. The home cooked lunch is also fantastic!
Alex Ferguson - - #11878
Fantastic day. Lots packed in to the day but it is well structured with great tuition and a small group so plenty of individual attention. We finished the day with a great sense of accomplishment and with the basic skills to practice at home and continue improving. Hospitality equalled the teaching with fabulous homemade lunch. Highly recommended.
Hannah - - #11861
A fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable day. Martin's relaxed teaching was a joy and I can now confidently tackle more projects.
The Spoon Carving course has been added to my birthday list and I shall tackle the clearing of my shed with renewed enthusiasm so I can have my very own whittling corner.
Richard Philp - - #11862
This is such a brilliant course, I can't recommend it enough.
Wood whittling is something I've always wanted to try and as a total beginner I was quite nervous. Martin is such a brilliant (and patient!) teacher and by the end of the day I couldn't believe what he'd helped us create. Being in a small group is so useful as you get lots of one-on-one time with Martin.
I left feeling so positive and ready to try some new projects. I'll definitely be booking again in the new year to progress my skills even further!
Thanks so much again Martin, it was just brilliant.
Gabrielle - - #10701
Excellent course. Just the right degree of stretch to provide a sense of having learned a great deal, and of achievement, without feeling at all stressful. Good lunches and good company. A weekend very well spent. If, like me, you have not been in an explicitly "learning" environment for while, it is fascinating to watch yourself doing so, under Martin's expert and tactful tuition.
Michael W - - #10522
I absolutely recommend this course to anyone who has a desire to learn about, and try their hand at, spoon carving!
Martin is the consummate host and teacher. He has set up the whole environment to put his small groups of students at ease and allow them to learn safe knife and axe skills - and to walk away with their own-made butter spreader and spoon ... and, if or group is anything to go by, a desire to do more :-)
Martin demonstrates every task that you will undertake and is always there to quietly help out when/if you get stuck and to let you get on your way again.
Oh, and ... great lunches are provided too!
I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone with a desire to explore the world of greenwood carving to get themselves booked in on one of Martin's courses!
MartinW - - #10502
I had a great course last weekend 27/28 May.
Thank you Martin for your warm welcome, patient teaching, hospitality and generosity of time.
It was good to come back with such detailed notes, knife, a finished spoon and some wood. I am inspired to keep carving!
It was a perfect setting in Martin's workshop and a lovely group, so thanks too to my fellow three students.
Sarah - - #9235
Excellent course. I really liked the relaxed atmosphere, and the level of supervision you get. (A group of only 4 students). The course notes are provided. This is very useful. Martin is very serious about safety too. As a bonus yummy home made cooked lunches. Thanks Martin!
Vincent - - #9189
I attended Martin's Spoon carving course on the weekend of the 18/19 March '17.
This course is highly recommended, whether you are a complete novice or have some experience. Martin is an excellent tutor, with a calm and patient style. The workshop is a very tranquil space with stunning views over the surrounding countryside.
The course covers, Health and Safety, tool selection care and use, sharpening,wood types to use and those to avoid,and finishing.
The teaching starts with basic knife cuts on Hazel sticks, moving on to axe work and the making of the first project, a butter spreader. The second day is devoted to making a spoon, which introduces the crook knife.
I came away happy to work on my own, in safety, with Knife and Axe and more importantly enthusiasm.
An excellent set of course notes is provided.
Finally, the lunches are excellent!
Thank you Martin.
Paul - - #8365
Landed a place on Martin's course 12th March - was exceptionally impressed with his approach to tutoring safe knife handling and the cuts used to remove material & achieve the desired form. The day is well structured with enough pauses to let the lessons bed in & your hands recover between the core skills & project pieces. Throughout the day you are observed & guided with quick warnings whenever you stray into doing anything remotely risky and helpful pointers to get you working in the safest/most effective way come thick & fast.
Lunch being part of the package was known to me before going, but, what a lunch!! (not the stale sandwiches & canned desserts you'd normally expect - Martin served us a very good, wholesome and home cooked lunch topped off with delicious cake)
I'd strongly recommend the whittling & knife-skills course to absolute beginners as well as those that are comfortable with knife-work & looking to hone their technique... Personally, I'm already looking at dates to see when I can return to attend the longer course that covers spoon-carving!
Mac - - #8253
This is a great introduction to knife work. Martin covers all the safety aspects of the key cuts and you have a chance to practice them. We then moved on to little projects to consolidate our knowledge. Throughout the day Martin carefully monitors your work and will stop you if you are unsafe, getting you back on track. He also makes a mean boiled fruit cake. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in woodwork.
Elizabeth Bond - - #8199