Last winter I was in a deep state of depression. If you have ever battled with it you’ll know that being depressed is not about being sad or suicidal. It’s rather the opposite – you don’t feel anything, no joy or sadness, just nothing. You’re like an empty shell of a person. You have no plans for the future because you’re convinced you’re not going to be there to live it. All you want to do is lie in bed all day and numb your mind. That’s what I did. When I got home from work I stuffed a whole pizza into my face and watched the same five movies on a loop. I didn’t even think about harming myself – I just didn’t want to exist anymore.
In the spring of 2020 I came across “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron, a book to help you be more creative, to get unstuck as an artist of any kind. At first, I felt helpless. The book asked me what I wanted to do, what I enjoyed, what I wished for, where I wanted to go in my life. I had not a single answer to that…
So, I set about finding out what brought me joy. I tried everything that peaked my interest even if only in the slightest way; painting, macramé, calligraphy, cross-stitching, playing the ukulele, photography, digging for gold in a river, string art, cyanotype, building robots, epoxy resin, decorating cupcakes, drumming. By September I had learned to feel at least a little bit of joy again and to tell if something brought me actual pleasure or not. That’s when I attended that fateful spoon carving class that would change my life for the better and where I made my very first wooden spoon. I got home that day tired to the bone and slept for twelve hours straight. I had stumbled upon gold.
The next day I ordered my first carving and hook knife set, plus twelve kilograms of wood. And I have made a spoon almost every day since then.
When I look back at where I was a year ago I am very grateful that I survived that dark place I’d been in. It seems like a nightmare I have woken from. Now when I come home from work I am full of ideas for new and weird and funny spoons. I have so many projects and plans that I keep a journal, lest I forget them. And I have found an amazingly supportive and positive community among the spoon carvers on Instagram.
When I take up a blank and knife it only takes about ten minutes of carving and I am “in the zone”. Carving is like meditation. I forget all my troubles, all my anger, all my sadness (if there even are any of those anymore). I am completely in the moment. And when another spoon is finished I feel so proud and happy that I go to bed with a smile every night.
I’m very glad that I still exist, and that I have found the joy of spoon making.