My name is Chris Goodman and I'm a full-time self employed wood carver based in Assynt. I initially learnt my green wood working craft on a 6 month green wood working course in Northumberland in 2008 and I have been learning more about wood and trees ever since. I relocated to Assynt in 2011 and started making and selling spoons locally in 2013.
I love the creative process of making beautiful things out of wood - from finding a fallen branch to turning it into a unique spoon. I carve wood when it's green - still fresh and supple - before leaving it to season and then oiling with organic linseed. All my items are suitable for everyday use - just wash them in warm soapy water and dry them straight away.
I use wood from trees grown in the local area, predominantly Birch, Rowan and Hazel but also occasionally Holly, Oak, Elm, Cherry, Willow, Apple and other species I chance upon. I source my wood from friends crofts where it is sustainably coppiced or from trees cut down to keep roads and powerlines clear.
I try to keep my impact on the environment to a minimum by cycling to work, using hand tools rather than power tools and using organic linseed to protect my finished work.
Why use wood?
In this world of mass produced goods where you can buy 3 machine made spoons for a pound in the supermarket or use light weight disposable plastic, why buy an expensive hand made wooden spoon, bowl or cup?
While we all want convenience and to save money we also depend on the planet and it's natural resources for our survival and I believe we need to work with natural processes in order to have a hopeful future.
Managed responsibly wood can be carbon neutral, endlessly renewable, chemical free and completely biodegradable. Wood is an incredibly adaptable and versatile material and useable for so many of our everyday needs. I hope that by making everyday items from local trees I am offering a lower impact alternative to the mass produced goods and the impact of industrial production. I aim to look after the woods I use to make sure they continue to do their thing. I also plant more trees where possible using local seed to create further woodland habitat.
What have trees ever done for us?
From increasing food for fish in the sea to helping spread rain to the interior of continents, woodlands shape the environment and play a vital part in the natural processes that we depend on for survival. Trees also provide some of the drugs that help us fight cancers, they help clean the air of bacteria, speed up our recovery rate after illness, improve our mental health, produce fruits and nuts to eat and provide an endless supply of materials that we use for our shelter, heat and cooking. In short they're really kinda useful.
New research published in the journal Nature suggests the world is home to more than 3 trillion trees. Humans cut down 15 billion trees each year and the global tree count has fallen by 46% since the beginning of human civilization. Despite our impact on trees they'll probably find a way of surviving some where and some how. What's less clear is whether human's could survive without them.