60 Seconds of Skill: Q&A with spoon carver Jojo Wood

Spoon carving
Jojo Wood is a spoon carver and traditional Clog maker based in Birmingham

60 Seconds of Skill is a moment to reflect, a minute from the ads to take a break and watch Craftspeople from the UK make some beautiful objects. Often these items are made in the same way that they have been made for hundreds if not thousands of years. They remind us that History is Alive.

We talked to Jojo Wood, a spoon carver and traditional Clog maker based in Birmingham. We discuss honing her craft, changing the world and her plans for the future.

Jojo Wood carves a wooden spoon': 60 Second of Skill' extended cut:

So how did you get into spoon carving?

I have been spoon carving as long as I could walk and talk - my father is a woodworker, and it has always been carved into my life :) I spent my early years travelling the world with my father, meeting craftspeople and amassing woodwork skills and knowledge, building the perfect foundations for mastering my chosen crafts. I also aim to inspire more women and younger people to get into woodworking, teaching that technique wins over physical strength every time.

How long does it take to make a spoon from start to finish?

The time taken to craft a finished spoon varies. It can take as little as an hour, or it can take a week – it depends on how it feels :)

How long have people been crafting spoons using the skills you have learned over the years?

People have been using and crafting wooden spoons for thousands and thousands of years. We have finds from the Paleolithic to Ancient Egypt even through to the Welsh craft of ‘Lovespoons’. It’s tried and tested, and you can even learn to make one yourself!

How can people go about getting started in spoon carving or Craft in general?

Search for Carvers or Craftspeople in your area who offer lessons. Or you can always come and do a course with us at Pathcarvers!

Tell us more about Pathcarvers and how did that come about?

Pathcarvers came about when we decided we wanted to use craft to change the world. My partner and I set up the organisation to help with peoples mental, physical health and to effect positive social change. We run craft courses which funds work with people who wouldn’t usually get to experience craft, helping them gain access to the fantastic benefits to help with mental, social and physical difficulties.

And you also make traditional clogs, how is this skill in danger of going extinct?

There are only a few traditional carvers left in the UK. There are only about nine or ten, myself being included. So its very important to keep these skills going or we could lose them forever.

People have been getting into crafts or picking them up again during lockdown, how do you think crafting and making things can help peoples mental and physical wellbeing?

There is something very grounding about the act of making, which is something it seems people are missing in their lives at the minute. But there seems to be more focus on mental health recently, and that is a good thing. We are happy to be creating an environment where people are able to talk about their mental health, and it is great that larger organisations are now taking these things seriously too.

How has the pandemic affected your business? What changes have you had to make?

We have had to move our weekly meetings and training to zoom which has been great - we found that we were able to start including a lot of people from all around the world in our courses and make lots of new friends in the process.

What plans do you have for the future?

I am looking to expand Pathcarvers with more courses in different areas of craft. We are also looking at opening workshops in other areas of the country, which we are in the early stages of already. I do feel, and have seen, that Pathcarvers is making a difference already, and I just want to continue this work. But also creating more beautiful wooden shoes and spoons!

You can find out more about Jojo and Pathcarvers here. Head to our YouTube Channel to see an extended cut of Jojo carving a wooden spoon in her ’60 Seconds of Skill’.