Vendor Voices

FlexCut’s Featured Artist: Elizabeth Sherman, Spoon-Carver

Elizabeth Sherman is one of the first spoon carvers we began following when we started our Instagram account a little over two years ago, and in that time, we’ve seen her talent rocket in all different directions. From continuing to hone her spoon carving skills, to carving new pieces like gorgeous coffee scoops, mug/drink toppers, wooden jewelry, measuring spoons, spreaders and other kitchenware to learning completely new crafts like knitting, Liz is a true maker by nature and she is extremely gifted.

We were lucky enough to meet Liz in person in the Spring of 2019 when she traveled to Erie to exhibit her pieces at the Great Lakes Beach Glass & Coastal Arts Festival in Erie. She toured Flexcut headquarters, spent some quality time with our team, and got to do some live spoon carving at the festival.

Even though we’ve met Liz in person, there’s still so much we don’t know about our wonderful, crafty friend, so we decided that she was the perfect choice for this month’s Q&A. 

What is your background?

“My professional background is actually in healthcare and only in the past few years have I begun exploring with any crafting, creating or making. As a child I grew up in Mexico with my parents as missionaries. We travelled a lot and frequently we would build a new wood cabin when we arrived at new locations. I remember being very young and helping my brothers and sisters build a wood cabin with my dad’s instructions. We would also build wooden bunk beds (there were a lot of us kids). So, since a very early age I was working with wood materials in some manner or another.”

What is the first thing you ever made and what inspired you to create it?

“Other than building with my dad when I was young, it was probably little cloth makeup bags I sewed. My mother always sewed when I was a child. She would make our clothes: she would sew dresses, make fancy hair bows, make Cabbage Patch look alike and Raggedy Ann dolls. She was always trying to give me tips on sewing, but as a young child, I never had any interest in sewing, although I did like her sewing my dresses and making dolls for me. As an adult, I developed an interest in sewing and I remember the first time I sat down to sew, I could hear all of my mother’s words of advice come flooding back to me.”

You have carved spoons, kitchenware, mug toppers, wooden jewelry. Most recently you’ve taken up knitting. What made you decide to start creating with yarn?

“It was winter and my wood pieces were not easily accessible. I was sitting on the couch in my living room wishing for warmer weather so I could go out and carve. As I bundled up on the couch, it just came to me that I should try and knit something, perhaps a scarf. So, I purchased some inexpensive yarn and set out watching YouTube videos and learning to make simple knit stitches. Still practicing and thoroughly enjoying it.”

What other types of art would you like to try?

“There is so much I would try and probably even more that I am not aware of. I would love to explore more in the fiber arts: expand my sewing skills, quilting, expand my knitting knowledge, and maybe crochet. I would love to try pottery. I have worked very minimally on the wood lathe and I would like to eventually work more with creating on the lathe. Expanding some in the arts: gardening has always been fun for me and I would love to expand my gardening skills and one day have a very large garden. Music is an art that I will continue to explore and improve in: singing, upright bass playing, accordion.”

Who are some makers that inspire you? Why?

“My mother, of course, has always inspired me to be creative. I am inspired by Mary May and Giles Newman. Why? Mary May is just so creative and I love her work and style. Giles Newman is so creative and just does fabulous intricate work. Specifically in the world of spoon carving, Brian from Tennessee Spoon has inspired me: he is dedicated to his craft and his work appears effortless and flawless.”

What is the most rewarding part of creating?

“The challenge of creating something new is the most fun for me. Being able to be free and express myself however I desire and having a piece to show that reflects the same is rewarding.  What is the most difficult? That there is not enough time in the day for me to make all the things I want to make! Ha! But, on a serious note, it is somewhat difficult for me to create a piece with certain specifications. This may be in part of my need for more practice or just a small streak of rebellion in my wanting to create something however I desire without anyone telling how it should be done.”

What do you do when you’re not feeling inspired to create?

“Go outside and take a walk in nature. Other times, I will sit quietly and sip on a cup of warm tea and then ideas just start flooding my brain.”

What’s your creative process like?

“Sometimes great ideas come to me late at night, sometimes in my dreams, sometimes while I’m playing music. Other times, I look at a piece of wood and follow the grain and am inspired by the shape of the wood or the wood grain and just begin carving and let the wood speak to me. And then at times, I may have a preconceived idea for a project and even sketch it out and follow that guidance.”

What’s one of the pieces you’re most proud of?

“Last year I carved a sycamore wood scoop with a coneflower handle for the stems. It was quite a challenge to carve the flower and petals, but I loved the way it turned out. The sycamore wood was a little more difficult to carve than what I usually carve, but it was quarter sawn and the grain was just perfect and looked like lace. That month I also carved a sycamore wood hummingbird spoon and it was just a delight to make.”

How would you describe your particular “style” of art?

“I would say my art is unique, Sometimes rustic and sometimes delicate and elegant.”

If you could offer one piece of advice to a new carver, what would it be?

“Don’t be hesitant to try something new. If it works and you like how it turns out, great! If not, you can always try something else.”

Which Flexcut tools do you use and what do you like most about each?  

“I use straight knives for carving many of my spoons. I use small handheld detail gouges for detailing the handles on the spoons. I love the hook knives and large gouges for carving out the spoon bowls. The small handheld detail gouges are very useful for detailing many other pieces I have made as well, from mug toppers to heart and flower shaped bowls. Some of my current favorites are the Right-Handed Scorp 5/16″ (KN23), the Flexcut Cutting Knife (KN12), the 70 deg. x 1/4″ Palm V-Tool (FR307), and the Flexcut Detail Knife (KN13).”

Submitted by FlexCut

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