Okay, so this last week I finally updated my website, and in so doing I shifted from showing individual spoons that I had carved (the old, last year way of doing things) to showing categories of spoons (the new, this year way of doing things). Largely this is because, after years of carving, I have settled on favorite forms that carve easily, work great, and look good while doing it.
This is an important shift towards seeing my work as a form of service, of serving the needs and desires of people who buy my work.
Carving a one of a kind spoon, someone buys it because of that spoon, and because they love it and what it represents and its connections to you and your story. This is not a bad thing.
Carving a spoon to a type becomes much more about determining what function and form would bring value to the buyer, whether because it does something particularly well or because it allows them to build a kitchen or a home or give a gift full of meaning and joy.
My forms will continue to change and evolve, but it does mean that my work has become even more recognizably my own, as I home in on particular design choices that I return to again and again.
Which brings me to an important announcement.
I HEREBY DECLARE ALL OF MY WORK TO BE OPEN SOURCE, TO BE USED AND COPIED AND EMULATED AND IMPROVED UPON AND EXPERIMENTED WITH AND SOLD BY ANYONE WHO WANTS TO, WITHOUT ANY NEED FOR PERMISSION OR ACKNOWLEDGMENT OR NOTIFICATION.
I get asked fairly regularly if its okay if somebody sells a piece they carved that ended up looking a bit like mine. Usually these queries are apologetic, as though they feel like they messed up somehow. I always feel flattered that anyone liked what I did enough to try it out. And I also am proud enough to think that my work is good in part because of the forms I choose. Like I said, they carve easily, work great and look good while doing it. So this is me setting the record straight.
If you see some shape that I carve, it is as much yours as mine. I arrived at it by standing on the shoulders of giants (to paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton), and you get to stand on my shoulders, too. That's how it works.
This kind of radical openness is what made the internet possible, when Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, decided, unlike all the other proprietary internet platforms at the time that charged a small fee, to make his web free and open source.
I believe that freely sharing all the knowledge and encouragement and love and ideas we have about spoons is what will ultimately bring our work back into the mainstream dialogue of our culture. This happens one person at a time. And every last one of them needs to feel some sense of ownership over their decision to buy and embrace what we do.
We need as many spooncarvers as possible. And as many people carving normal, everyday spoons as possible.
So if you see something of mine that you like and you want to try carving it, this is my green light to the world. I am honored to be along for the ride.
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.
One idea is as worthless as another until you actually do something about it, and then it is the action, not the word that matters. --Orson Scott Card