Over the past year Oslo-based designer Stian Korntved Ruud (one half of the naturalist design duo Kneip) has invested his designerly energies into a singular project—hand carving a wooden spoon each day. The Daily Spoon is a meditation in material—by adding functionality to a piece of wood, Ruud is exploring the boundaries of the material itself while refining his craft.
Anyone who has ever tried their hand at carving wood can appreciate the patience, dexterity and vision it takes to wrought a defined shape from an organic material full of knots, holes and disparities. For the duration of the project, Ruud was a one-man wooden spoon factory:
I make all the spoons in a traditional way with only hand tools. The point of this is to actively cooperate with the material, in this case wood. In a modern industrial production the machines overwrites the wooden structures and natural growth pattern. When using manual hand tools my handc collaborates with the wood structure during the forming process. This underpins all the spoons unique qualities.
To celebrate the launch of a limited edition, commemorative poster showing all 365 works from the Daily Spoon and Ruud’s current exhibition of the Daily Spoon at Galleri Format in Oslo, we spoke to the designer about lessons learned from hand carving a spoon a day:
MOLD: Over the course of this year, has a single tool and/or single wood stood out as your favorite to work with?
Stian Korntved Ruud: I can’t say I have a favorite wood but apple wood and fruit trees in general has been a good experience. Japanese Kogatana knives are probably my favorite tool for this project. [Editor’s Note: Kogatana knives have a cutting steel forged to layers of soft iron] They are perfect for getting into those tight corners.
What have been some of your most surprising shapes and functionalities that have emerged from the process of carving a spoon a day?
It is a constant evolution of shapes and function. Some spoons opens up new possibilities and ideas. Steam bending and hinge working has opened some surprising shapes and functionalities.
What are five pieces of advice you have for any designer interested in hand-carving wooden spoons?
1. Get good quality tools.
2. Get a spoon knife.
3. Start with softer woods.
4. But explore as many wood species as possible.
5. Be patient.
The Daily Spoon posters are now available for purchase through the Kneip store as a limited edition run of 250 numbered and signed prints on 250 gram paper. Norwegian Wood Art is on view at Galleri Format Oslo through June 21.