After an 18+ drive from the City of Angels to the City of Roses, the beautiful and bright Annie Beedy stepped into the Wemake space on Saturday, May 6 for a day of making. With her pup Pinto in tow, Annie was happy to be back in Portland where she had spent the last decade as a photographer-turned-woodworker. With the help of WeMake volunteers, we set the workshop tables with gouges, knives, and slabs of wood before twenty of Annie’s biggest fans and newest admirers began to fill the workshop.
Annie began a 3-hour workshop on whittling a large-size spoon out of a slab of poplar. This wood is soft and easy for beginners to manipulate. First, we clamped the wood onto the table in order to dig out the head of the spoon. Even though poplar is the most workable of woods, it takes a bit of elbow grease to get into the groove. After a few scrapes and experimenting with the tools, students were digging away. Annie was available to offer guidance and tips on how to use each unique tool.
Once we were satisfied with the bowl of the spoon, it was time to carve out the handle. Students were able to add flair by cutting the handles into different widths and sizes. Some even added holes and adornments. We refined our carvings with different grits of sandpaper, moving from rough to fine. The grain of the wood rose to the surface as we sanded our spoons. The last step of the process was conditioning our spoons with handmade wood butter Annie made out of beeswax and coconut oil. At the end of the day, each student left with a handmade spoon, a jar of wood butter, and the inspiration to keep carving away.
What I enjoy most about WeMake workshops is the way participants jump right into the craft, even if they have no experience with the tools or trade. I am always blown away by the results and can’t wait to see what else we can make together this year.
Above photos by Daniel Cole. Checkout more photos here!