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Japanese Spoon Carving

Rated 4.90 out of 5 from 105 reviews.Oakland, United States

Paused through August 27.

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Experience hosted by Melanie

2.5 hours
Includes food, drinks, equipment
Up to 8 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

Zen with ancient art in Oakland

Japanese wood carving is rooted in personal wellness, relaxation, and an age-old meditative tradition of making with your hands. For me, it's the best way to express and channel my creative energy as a designer. I will teach you how to hand carve your own wooden spoon using traditional Japanese tools and techniques. The class will start with a slow breathing exercise that leads into a discussion of different wood types, an explanation of the tools required, and an overview of the techniques used to cut wood. Once you have a basic understanding, I will guide you through the process of carving the bowl of the spoon with the spoon gouge, then designing and whittling the handle and top of the spoon. When the final design has been reached, we will find zen in our creation.
Zen with ancient art in Oakland

Japanese wood carving is rooted in personal wellness, relaxation, and an age-old meditative tradition of making with your hands. For me, it's the best way to express and channel my creative energy as a designer. I will teach you how to hand carve your own wooden spoon using traditional Japanese tools and techniques. The class will start with a slow breathing exercise that leads into a discussion of different wood types, an explanation of the tools required, and an overview of the techniques used to cut wood. Once you have a basic understanding, I will guide you through the proces…

What's included

  • Food
    Refreshing Drinks
  • Drinks
    Sparking Water
  • Equipment
    Sandpaper + Tools
From $100
/ person
No dates available

Meet your host, Melanie

Host on Airbnb since 2013
  • 105 Reviews
  • Identity verified
Product designer and maker Melanie Abrantes runs her own business in Oakland and sells her designs in small shops and retail stores nationwide, including Urban Outfitters and West Elm. She's been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Anthology, Domino magazine, Dwell, and Bon Appétit. She is the author of Penguin Random House's book, "Carve, A Simple Guide to Whittling" coming out August 2017.
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Where you'll be

We will be in my wood working studio in Oakland, CA. My space is in an old tomato-factory with brick walls and lots of saw dust! Close to both west oakland bart and the 880 freeway.

Rated 4.90 out of 5 from 105 reviews.

Tal
March 2020
This was an amazing experience! Would recommend to anyone looking to learn a new craft, work with their hands and come out with a beautiful spoon! Melanie was so helpful we really enjoyed the class.
Sandeep
February 2020
This surely is a once in a lifetime experience and totally recommended. The experience lasted for close to 2.5 hours through which Melanie walked us through 4 distinct steps by which we carved a spoon from a block of wood with the help of specialized tools. What makes this experience further unique is Melanie's ability to provide instructions and guidance at critical points through the experience. She's patient, knowledgable and has great insights into the art of wood carving through her own experiences and qualifications.
This surely is a once in a lifetime experience and totally recommended. The experience lasted for close to 2.5 hours through which Melanie walked us through 4 distinct steps by whi…
Meethu
February 2020
Melanie provided us with a wonderful spoon carving experience! She provided us detailed instructions at each step in the process, also came by each person and give additional instructions as needed, making spoon carving an moderately easy experience. Melanie's studio was beautiful, there was something very calming about the studio, the music playing in the background and the entire experience. This experience also included light snacks and water. You can also buy the tools for a discount at the end of the class.
Melanie provided us with a wonderful spoon carving experience! She provided us detailed instructions at each step in the process, also came by each person and give additional instr…
Amelia
January 2020
This was such a fantastic experience. Melanie is a wonderful teacher and host - her studio is beautiful and she included some REALLY delicious snacks from a local bakery. she walked us through each step of carving a spoon, and paid attention to each student to make sure they were on the right track and using the tools safely/effectively. everyone came away with a beautiful and unique spoon. I would highly recommend this class to anyone!
This was such a fantastic experience. Melanie is a wonderful teacher and host - her studio is beautiful and she included some REALLY delicious snacks from a local bakery. she walke…
Diny
January 2020
This was a very fun and unique class! Melanie trained at Otis Design as a product designer, and has around a decade's experience of woodworking so definitely knows her stuff. The book that she wrote on carving is sold at the local Japanese market, which is so amazing. 3 hours passes by very quickly. It is more work than it looks (Melanie makes it look easy); midway through I was worried I wouldn't be able to finish but I got it done and it looks amazing! She had pre-cut bass wood, because it's a softer wood and easier to whittle. It's a really fun and meditative experience, that I'd happily do again. PRO TIP: bring oyster shucking gloves. The Japanese tools are sharp and if you aren't careful you might accidentally cut yourself; luckily there's a large supply of bandages, and all cuts were minor. I brought oyster shucking gloves and saved my injury-prone self. One of the attendees had a sensitivity to scent (the wood butter is made of beeswax, mineral oil, and lavender oil); Melanie was able to accommodate by swapping the lavender oil. Her cute small dog comes to keep us company during the class, so if you have a dog allergy let her know in advance. The location is hard to find. Once you park, go up the steps to the back of the building (closest to the train tracks). Door to the studio is unmarked, second door from the right (when facing the train tracks). There is plenty of street parking.
This was a very fun and unique class! Melanie trained at Otis Design as a product designer, and has around a decade's experience of woodworking so definitely knows her stuff. The b…
Han
January 2020
We had a great time whittling and carving our spoons and Melanie was a great hosting guiding us through the entire process. Highly recommended to anyone who want to experience some woodworking and you won't regret it.

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 8 guests ages 18 and up can attend.

More tips

Please wear closed-toe shoes, and clothes you don't mind getting dirty. We will be carving and making a beautiful mess!

What to bring

Close toed shoes

Apron (if you dont want to get dirty)