Sycamore (the English version a maple – Acer pseudoplantanus, not American sycamore a plane – Platanus occidentalis) is a lovely wood to carve and dries hard and durable. It was the wood of choice for Welsh Cawl spoons and for clog soles in Wales. It can have pretty flecking and spalts nicely but is often quite plain and I like to decorate it with either milk paint or chip carving.

  • ladle with folk art decorated handle

    Ladle with chip carved handle decoration

    Length: 30cm (12 inches)
    Bowl width: 7cm
    Bowl length: 8cm
    Bowl depth: 2cm
    Finish: red ochre and hemp seed oil

    This ladle is made from a sycamore crook. The handle decoration is a mixture of chip carving and other marks made with a small pick knife. Ochre pigment is applied in a water wash and penetrates deepest on all the cut surfaces making them darker and more intensely coloured. The design is spontaneous and emergent in the the carving process, there will never be another one just like this. I like to think this style of decoration sits within the folk art tradition of adding beauty to simple household utensils.