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Barn the Spoon in East London

It’s refreshing to come across something that’s practical and simple by design. When form and function meet in equal measure, the results resonate with a lasting satisfaction. Rambling along perpetually up-and-coming and increasingly trendy Hackney Road with its speakeasies and new boutiques mingling with stalwart pubs and dwindling wholesaler outlets, a shop selling handmade wooden spoon stands out.

I’d scoped Barn the Spoon from the top deck of the bus some back before Christmas and figured it to be a short lived pop-up anomaly. But strolling by on a sunny Monday in early March to see a hand carved “open” sign on the door and a beardy dude whittling away amid a sea of wood chips, I figured the place was worth poking my head in for a quick look.

Yep. It’s a spoon shop, where “do one thing and do it well” seems to be a motto taken to its fullest extend. A range of sycamore carved spoons, ladles, spatulas and more await shoppers looking for something that was actually made by the person who’s selling it to you. Prices seem to hover around £10 for most items. The spoons and such were attractively plain. I could see plainly how they were made and what purpose they had.

I think what I liked most my visit to Barn the Spoon was that when I told the proprietor (and beardy dude), Barnaby “Barn” Carder, I was a freelance writer and interesting in featuring his shop in an article, he didn’t ask me who I wrote for or even what sort of stuff I wrote about. He simply asked why did write. I responded with my own question: Why do you make spoons? Barn smiled, laughed deep and cheerful and let his guard down (but continued whittling away).

More than his shout out about his shop, Barn hoped I would mention his classes and this summer’s Spoonfest up North. Apparently spoon carving isn’t quite as novel as I though and Barn reckons it’s “coming back with a vengeance.” Barn hosts spoon carving evening classes at his shop that are “a perfect introduction to knife carving” with a “focus on carving techniques that will allow you to carve safely with confidence so you can create at home too”. No previous woodworking experience is necessary.

Barn the Spoon is located at 260 Hackney Road, E2. Find out more. And if you’re really keen to dip into all things wooden spoony, have a look here for details about Spoonfest, the “international celebration of the carved wooden spoon” coming to Edale, Derbyshire the first weekend of August.

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