Hi and welcome to my site, I’m Jill Swan and I live in Canterbury in the beautiful county of Kent (United Kingdom) often referred to as the garden of England

I have been carving spoons ever since I acquired a small piece of woodland some years ago and was determined to produce something beautiful from the wood after being told by an ‘expert’ that my ancient woodland full of Oak, Maple, Beech, Hornbeam, Chestnut, Rowan and Holly had no value as it was ‘all just firewood’

Having studied sculpture in my formative years I was no stranger to carving, but the experience of working freshly cut greenwood in a woodland setting using traditional hand tools very quickly took over my life and I have now subsequently built a small full time business around it

Now demonstrating and teaching all over the country, my spoon academy is spreading the message that spoon carving is part of a resurgence of traditional crafts, reconnecting us to the countryside and to natural materials, breathing new life into neglected woodlands

One thing I love especially in the summer months is travelling to shows up and down the UK, demonstrating at country fairs and markets, as well as teaching

Then during the Autumn & Winter months I tend to settle down by the fire making more stock for the following year

Unfortunately, my personal circumstances nowadays do not allow me to be constantly travelling as much as I used to but I’m grateful knowing that I still have my beautiful woodland to spend time in

I typically carve eating, serving and cooking spoons, made from my own wood as well as woods from local sources. Some rare, some exotic, some plain and humble. All my spoons are sustainable and made entirely by hand

At the beginning of every year my season usually starts with the Bodgers Ball during the second week of May, which is the UK’s largest green woodworking gathering

After which I then head straight up to Glasgow for the Great Scottish Spoon Hoolie where I teach a hands on sessions over the weekend, followed by a 2 day class in Knoydart on the western isles, a remote peninsular accessible only by passenger ferry. This event is  organised by the Knoydart forest trust and is a very special place indeed to visit

Ive had a van for a few years now and have converted it to a campervan for one. As well as being able to carry my gear and to be able to seat 4 or 5 people if needs be, or sit at a table and write or carve

The van also stores my tools and a chopping block, and has room for wood, and dogs and cooking equipment. It’s amazing what I can get in it!

It means I can do an overnighter easily, so if I’m on a long journey I can sleep in the van and save time and money. It also makes sense when planning journeys as I want to conserve fuel so all the Scottish engagements are in May, so that minimises miles. I usually drop in to friends on the way, which makes the whole exercise feel more like a holiday than it did already

Apart from Scotland I have a good selection of engagements in Kent, my current home county, the newest one for me being the Kent County Show

My first time there in 2019 which was enjoyed much more than I expected as it is a massive show with over 70,000 visitors over the weekend. I thought I might feel a bit lost amongst all the big businesses showing their wares, but it seems nowadays the public know exactly what spoon carving is

In the wooded area of the Kent county show ground there are several different stands making spoons, bowls, charcoal, baskets, sculptures, medieval reenactors, bushcraft, archery and many other craftspeople

We no longer have to explain to every passing family what it is we are doing, also Frankie Woodgate and her fantastic logging horses are giving displays which is worth turning up for!

Other shows include the Brogdale apple festival, Cherry festival and loads of other great informative experiences, well worth a visit if you’re  looking for a great day out near Faversham

Boldshaves Gardens hosts the wonderful Wealden Literary Festival in July and that showcases writers with a nature theme. The most wonderful collection of interesting local stalls appear with artists, craftsmen and food featuring heavily

Belmont house and gardens have a Woodfest, a two day festival in September that is the only dedicated wood festival in Kent that I know of. It’s great to catch up with the other stallholders and to meet the new ones

All the shows I demonstrate and teach at throughout the year are linked to using the ‘Events’ tab on the menu at the top of this website

I was also very lucky to be asked to visit Israel recently and teach at the Northern Spirits Festival, the first time I’ve visited that part of the world and was looked after very well by my Host Mikey Elefant who I met at Spoonfest (which is the worlds largest spoon carving gathering)

It was a very moving experience and I met some fantastic people who are doing incredible things

In short, spoon carving has taken me on a journey I would never have dreamt of, Physical, Spiritual and chasing the elusive butterfly of form and function in my spoon carving practise

A journey I hope you are also able to take by learning the beautiful art of spoon carving

I sincerely appreciate you stopping by and for reading a little about me. Please feel free to look around this site and if you have any questions or queries then please feel free to use the ‘Contact’ page located on the menu bar at the top of this page

Until then keep carving brothers and sisters, and I look forward to meeting you at a show or festival somewhere

If you do see me please do come by and say hello!

Take care

Jill Swan