We're excited to bring you a series of profiles to introduce you to a few of our artisans coming to the 8th Annual Crafty Mart Holiday Show on Saturday and Sunday, November 26th-27th. This is just one in a series of Vendor Spotlights in which we let those who will be sharing their wares shine a light on what it is they do. The following profile is Bill of Willey Creek Spoon & Utensil and his response to a mini-questionnaire.
1). What’s your name and what is it that you make?
My name is Bill Janke of Willey Creek Spoon & Utensil, and I make wooden spoons and various other kitchen utensils. I utilize traditional greenwood carving techniques and do not use power tools. Each piece is as unique as the tree or branch that it is carved from.
2). How did you acquire the unique skill set to do what it is you do?
Looking back on my journey in becoming a proficient wood carver, I think persistence, patience, and my first-aid kit all played an important role. There is a lot that goes into the carving of a spoon--besides just putting a knife to wood. For example, one must learn proper tool maintenance. Keeping an extremely sharp edge on carving tools is essential to producing quality results.
The greatest resource that I have found for all things related to greenwood carving has been engaging the awesome community of my peers. There is a large international group of some amazing greenwood carvers that I have become acquainted with through social media and they are always available for questions, tips, or feedback. Sharing acquired knowledge and passion for our craft is an important part of the greenwood carving tradition and community. A common practice is to trade spoons with other makers. You can learn a lot beyond photos when handling the actual spoon. I have gathered a collection of spoons from makers in Sweden, France, England, and various states throughout the county. Many have taught me something that I have incorporated into my own designs.
3). What is your best seller?
Currently, my best sellers are larger kitchen spoons. They are great for cooking or serving. That’s why I love carving spoons--they are useful!
4). How long have you been vending? Have you done a Crafty Mart show before?
I have officially been vending for about a year now. I am certain that I have given away as many spoons as I have sold, prior to “hanging my shingle.” Last year was my first Crafty Mart. All of the vendors were very supportive and the experience really encouraged me to continue my small venture.
5). The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
That’s a tough one. When I was growing up, I was fortunate enough to have my parents pass down their record collections to me. My father’s was loaded with Stones albums and my mother's with The Beatles and I still listen to them frequently. If I had to choose, I would go with The Beatles. While both groups have an impressive catalogue, I still haven’t forgiven The Stones for the Dirty Work and Steel Wheels albums.
Thank you for answering our questions Bill. And, thanks for coming to the 8th Annual Crafty Mart Holiday Show. We'll see everyone on Sat. & Sun. Nov. 26th-27th at Musica, Akron Art Museum, and Summit Artspace. You'll be able to find Willey Creek Spoon & Utensil at Musica.