Norm Sartorius

“People look at me rather oddly when I tell them I make non-functional wooden spoons – non-functional in that you wouldn’t use them in the kitchen, but functional in that they are objects of beauty. My spoons are sculptures; my sculptures are spoons, not spoons to stir the soup but spoons to stir the soul.”

“It’s the play of heartwood and sapwood, color, unusual grain, knots, textures, or anomalies that suggests the spoons that lie within each piece of wood. The pieces begin with a rough shape on a band saw and are transformed by power carving tools, die grinders, files, and hours of handwork. A finished spoon is as smooth and detailed as a fine piece of jewelry.”

“I have felt compelled to make spoons since I started woodworking. To me ‘spoon’ is just another category, similar to ‘bowl’, ‘plate’, or ‘teapot’. Within each category are infinite varieties of form, size, texture, abstraction, color, and emotion. The character of the raw pieces of wood and my sensitivity at the time I am working contribute more than my concern for function. Inspiration, for me, is intuitive, and so far I am unable to turn it on at will; however, I am aware when it comes. My goal is to make spoons that people will view as special objects, small treasures that give them pleasure to touch, to look at, to own.”

A creator of wooden spoons for 30 years, Norm Sartorius has explored the common wooden spoon as a context for sculpture. Using rare and unusual woods of exceptional beauty, he shapes each spoon to stand as a unique artistic statement of color, form, and texture. Testing the boundary between art and craft, his work is inspired by the material, nature, and rich ethnic spoon making traditions worldwide. In the end, it is always the dialogue between the maker and the wood that results in a form that happens to be a sculptural spoon. Often referred to as “Ceremonial Objects”, Sartorius’ spoons vary in size and shape, each being solely created by the artist.