Wendy Neale
17.August 2021

I've always liked whittling but I'm usually more fond of the practice than the outcome.

Until recently I used a little pocket knife and sometimes a gouge. This month I've taken it to the next level, thanks to a birthday present of two Swedish whittling knives.

And I've decided to push through the 'meh' barrier*.

three wooden spoons

We've had some rough weather this winter, so I've found lovely bits of driftwood washed up on the west coast beaches nearby. I look for Rata or Pohutukawa which are both very dense and pink to red in colour. When I went beachcombing with friends recently, they were puzzled by how easily I could tell which bits were suitable.
Of course I've been identifying timbers for decades, which is what I told them, but then I realised that I had an extra advantage. The sunglasses I was wearing were filtering out other colours and making the right driftwood seem hyper-red. What a happy coincidence!
One of the advantages of using driftwood for this project is that if I don't like the outcome, I take it to the beach where I found it and release it back into the wild. Maybe another beachcomber will find it and love it, otherwise it will return to being a gently degrading piece of flotsam.

This is how I've been able to work past the 'meh' barrier - nothing I make is a waste of time or resources. So I make and evaluate, make and evaluate, and I think these three spoons I whittled are beautiful. They have the right combination of colour, texture and form, as well as feel good in the hand.

The other two, which I'm not showing you, will go back to the beach when I go beachcombing again.

* when you spend hours making something, then look at it & are sorely underwhelmed by everything about it.