Carver Spotlight: Giles Newman
By Kaylee Schofield, Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine Editor
Foodandwine.com has dubbed Giles Newman’s spoons “the world’s most beautiful,” and it’s not hard to see why; his art is at once utilitarian and visually delicate. Giles carves intricate spoons and jewelry using nothing but a knife, an axe, and wind-fallen wood from Coed Tegid, his personal nature reserve in North Wales. A photographer and graphic designer by trade, he taught himself to carve using the materials he had with him on weekends at the reserve—a Morakniv 120 Carving Knife and a Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe.
It’s no wonder that Gile’s work caught the eye of the Woodcarving Illustrated Magazine team. Giles has been featured a handful of times in the magazine including his most recent article found in the Whittling Special Edition 2021 Magazine. In this article, you can now follow along with his FIRST-EVER step-by-step project, Carving a Feather Pendant, that showcases his fine jewelry techniques.
“Choose your reference material. Examining a real feather will help you to understand how
the individual barbs (feather strands) behave and to create a more realistic appearance in your pendant. Alternatively, search
online for a range of different
feather photos.” ~ Giles Newman
Learn to Whittle with 1 Knife! Our latest Whittling Special Issue includes a complete starter guide and 23 fun and easy projects to try! Whittle a trick-or-treater, flat-plane cat, bird in a cage, snowman ornament, and so much more!
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For each project, Giles starts by gathering whatever naturally fallen wood he can find in the area; he prefers English oak for its rich coloring and dense grain. He then roughs out each piece with the axe, using a hook knife when necessary to hollow the bowls of the spoons. He shapes his spoons and jewelry using the rounded part (the belly) of the Morakniv, and then completes the detail work by choking up on the blade and carving with just the tip. What results is a practical creation that you might find too lovely to use. And that’s okay. As Giles puts it, his sculptural utensils “contradict the principle that the shape of a tool must be defined by its function, and challenge the viewer to question the form of objects that are…fundamental to our everyday lives but often given little regard.”
Giles has been carving commercially for just over three years, but in that time, his career has ballooned; since 2016, he has run workshops at the Bushcraft Show in Derbyshire, the Wilderness Gathering in Wiltshire, and the Great Scottish Spoon Hoolie in Sterlingshire, to name just a few. Find more of Giles work in the pages for Whittling Special Edition Magazine, 2021.
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