Mental Health Awareness month

Why and how spoon carving can help
to recovery from depression and anxiety

LGW coop member and tutor Samuel Alexander on why he loves spoon carving and how it helped him to recovery from depression and anxiety:

” As we approach the end of mental health awareness month, I’d like to share with you just how important green woodworking is to me and how by practicing a heritage craft I have found harmony, tranquility and grounding within a busy environment such as London. Being part of a cooperative brings me a sense of pride and community. Working with hand tools, removing shaving after shaving, reducing a piece of wood to a refined form creates a worldly sense of tactility that is completely transformative.

This video is a project that I worked on with the talented Daisy Gaston and Joyce Nicholls back in March 2019 about what craft really means to us craftspeople.

Using our energy – be it positive or negative- we can make objects that exist in a form that we ourselves have determined. We can hold these objects, see them, read their narrative of tool marks, gift them, sell them, or keep them! Ultimately they exist and bring a new sense of joy to the somewhat vicious process of working with sharp hand tools.

My craft journey started with spoon carving as a form of therapy to help see light in a deep pit of depression and anxiety, it has now lead me to become a spoon carving tutor London Green Wood, making new makers as well as making spoons myself. In our classes I and our other tutors share the calming process of making alongside, at a time where perhaps we’ve never needed to see the power of what we can do with our hands more.

I am thankful that green wood working has never been as accessible as it is today! With wonderful resources, courses and inspirational and generous makers out there, there has never been a better time to explore what you’re capable of within craft. ”

With this film project, we set out to explore the connection between mental health, craft and healing. We were honoured and lucky to meet Sam, who welcomed us into his space and kindly shared his story. We were both touched by Sam’s openness about his mental health journey. While Sam also gave us a true insight into the power of woodwork and craft, taking a moment to sit and focus to create something tangible and meaningful.

Daisy Gaston and Joyce Nicholls