Marcus Keaveney is a spoon carver residing in Clackmannanshire, Central Scotland, specialising in hand-carving wooden spoons from greenwood using only hand tools. Marcus has a curiosity for heritage crafts that grew from necessity and purpose. He finds a wonderful beauty in these ‘simple’ objects and their methods of production. Marcus' spoons are utilitarian in nature and designed for kitchen use, delighting their user in their form and function.
Marcus creates his spoons from fresh, unseasoned greenwood, which is wetter and softer, and therefore easier to work with using simple tools. He obtains his wood from storm-damaged trees, friendly tree surgeons and generous neighbours. The timber can be stored for a number of months while still retaining its moisture content and remaining ‘green’. Marcus uses primarily hardwoods, such as birch, beech and walnut, which are better suited to kitchen-treen used daily. Softer woods are more easily damaged, while harder woods lend themselves to heavy use and take on their own patina over time, further enhancing their beauty.
Preferring to carve his spoons outside, Marcus is often immersed in the remarkable atmosphere of the woodlands around his home. He uses a simple process not unlike that used centuries ago for spoon carving. The wood is first shaped with an axe and then finished with knives - a hooked blade for shaping the inside of the spoon bowl. No other tools are needed. Once completed, the spoon then dries out, with only minor finishing cuts required before treating it with a thin coating of food-safe raw linseed oil and beeswax ‘spoon-butter’.
It is a simple but rewarding way of working, often meditative and always enjoyable. Wooden spoons hold a simple beauty of form and function rarely found in today’s mass-produced markets. With just a little care, they can provide years of companionship and service. Be it serving tatties and veg for Sunday lunch or conveying morning porridge from bowl to mouth, there's nothing quite like a handcrafted wooden spoon.