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Carving a vision: Milan hosts the 12th annual Spoon Gathering

Erica Dischino / Tribune Carver Jane Mickelborough, from the Brittany in France, shows how to carve a Brenton-style spoon at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan.1 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Tents are set up to provide shade for the attendees at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan. Many of those at the three-day event slept in their personal tents outside of the Milan Village Arts School. 2 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Jonah Lindsey, left, Liesl Chatman, and Lee Ann Behling work together to carve a giant spoon at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan. The Spoon Gathering is a three-day festival that provides workshops and lessons in traditional woodworking and much more for those interested in age-old crafts. 3 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Carver Jane Mickelborough, from the Brittany in France, presents to attendees about the Brenton-style spoon carving at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan.4 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Walter Riddle, from Madison, Wisconsin, chops wood he will later use to carve with at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan. 5 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Mike Bray of San Francisco is silhouetted as he chops wood under the shade of a tree at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan.6 / 7
Erica Dischino / Tribune Leslie Walters carves a spoon at the 12th annual Spoon Gathering June 1 in Milan. Walters came from Portland, Oregon, to attend the three-day event. 7 / 7

MILAN — Spoon carvers from across the country and around the world came to the small town of Milan, population 300, for the 12th annual Spoon Gathering earlier this month.

The Spoon Gathering is a three-day event that provides workshops and lessons in traditional green woodworking — woodworking with freshly cut wood — and much more, for those interested in age-old crafts. The Milan Village Arts School hosts the gathering every year and Ron Perop, director of the arts school, said that this year was the biggest one to date. There were about 200 attendees from more than 15 U.S. states and international countries.

"The Midwest is sort of the epicenter for woodworking, and interest seems to be growing every year," Perop said.

Originally organized by artist and instructor Frank Foltz with several other spoon carvers, the gathering in Milan is recognized as one of the longest running spoon-carving events in the world.

"It's a lot of fun and a warm atmosphere. It's a community at the gathering. Everybody knows everybody," Perop said.

Attendees learned about knife sharpening, types of weaving and other carving methods. Perop suggests taking several classes in woodworking when starting out. The Milan Village Arts School provides art classes and events year-round in a variety of crafts.

"Carving is about finding your niché. There are so many different types of woodworking and ways for people to get interested," Perop said.

Erica Dischino

Erica Dischino is the photographer for the West Central Tribune. Hailing from northern New Jersey, she graduated from Ithaca College in central New York with a bachelors in Journalism and Photography. Follow her on Instagram.

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