Greenwood Spoon Carving

A creative and intensive weekend working with wood fresh from the forest to make both a spoon and a spatula. This course is aimed at beginners and you’ll use specialist Scandinavian carving knives, guided by tutor Steve Bretel. You will start with practicing the basics at your own pace, while gaining a thorough understanding of the safety and awareness needed when using these tools. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll find that carving wood is a rewarding, immersive and relaxing creative art form. 

Selecting from ‘blanks’ – rough shapes cut for you with an axe and draw knife from sustainable greenwood – you are then encouraged to carve your own unique contemporary design. This may be functional, or purely decorative and artistic, working with the form the wood has suggested, following the grain once cleaved. You will leave with a thorough understanding of the process, and lots of ideas for finishing your piece at home. You may even have made something you decide to give as a gift! All materials and equipment are supplied.

Dates and prices 2020

Friday 16th – Sunday 18th October – £385 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Dates and prices 2021

Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd May – £399 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE
Friday 15th – Sunday 17th October – £399 per person (2 nights) – BOOK ONLINE

Above is based on single occupancy of an en-suite room (full board basis), should you wish to bring a companion who is not taking part in the course, then they will receive a reduction in the above price; please contact us for details.

Prices updated December 2019.

How to book

Payment, Terms & Conditions

A £100 per person deposit is required to secure your booking. Full payment is due 6 weeks prior to arrival. For craft & activity breaks booked within 6 weeks of course start date, full payment is required at the time of booking. Craft & activity breaks are subject to availability and subject to change.

What’s included? 
Courses are based at Gartmore House; all rooms are en-suite with tea and coffee making facilities and many have wonderful views over Flanders Moss Nature Reserve, towards Stirling. Your course includes full board; all meals are freshly prepared by our chefs. Enjoy a glass of wine as you relax in the dining room looking out over the views and discussing your day’s work. Bar facilities are available during dinner. 

Complimentary transfers from Stirling train station are available on the arrival and departure days (pick-up from the station at 15:30, departs Gartmore House at 16:00).

16:00 Arrive late afternoon to afternoon tea in the lounge
18:00 Welcome talk in the lounge and meet your tutor
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

08:30 Breakfast
10:00 Course begins (course will run until 16:00)
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
13:00 Lunch
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits
16:00 Course ends for the day
18:30 Dinner
21:00 Tea/coffee in the lounge

08:30 Breakfast then check-out
10:00 Latest check-out. Course begins (course will run until 16:00) 
11:00 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits 
13:00 Lunch 
15:30 Tea/coffee and cake/biscuits 
16:00 Course ends for the day. Make your way home

All materials and tools for the course are included. Please bring with you clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, and enclosed shoes (no sandals or open-toed shoes, as you will be working with sharp tools).  You may wish to bring an apron with you if you like. Participants will have the option of wearing special gloves, which will be provided by your tutor. 

Tutor – Steve Bretel

 Steve Bretel, is a fine art painter, maker and enthusiastic educator. Following his studies at art school in Wales, then a career in London as a commercial artist, Steve moved north to pursue his love for creative adventure painting in the mountains, forests, villages and coastal towns of Scotland, where he is now based. He has also worked in outdoor and community arts education, greenwood crafting, and is a qualified mountain leader and musician. 

Steve has taught creative classes for nearly 20 years, and believes that understanding the needs of the learner is fundamental, and the key to success. His passion lies in developing the creative confidence and abilities of each person through progressing their style at a pace that suits them, and passing on skills through a blend of demonstrations, group and individual instruction and positive feedback. 

He is a past member of the Society of Industrial Artists & Designers, and holds a BA in Visual Communication. He exhibits regularly through galleries and open studio events in the UK, and has work in collections in the UK and other countries. When not working on location, he is based at his Fife home studio, and from his workspace at The Steeple in Newburgh, run by the WASPS arts organisation. He is currently Artist in Residence at Rahoy Hills nature reserve, Morvern.

Steve also teaches the Watercolour Painting retreats at Gartmore House.

Steve will be on hand throughout your course to give demonstrations and guidance, in a supportive and fun learning environment. For more information about Steve please visit his website

‘Exceptional value for money. You made us feel welcome from booking to departure. Nothing ever appeared too much trouble and that level of service is something to be exceptionally proud of. We will return next year to enjoy the house and crafting courses. With heartfelt thanks.’

‘A lovely old house brought back to life, well done.’

‘Lovely atmosphere for learning and relaxation. Afternoon tea ‘treats’ much appreciated.’

‘With regard to the accommodation, this was more than comfortable, the food delicious and plentiful and all the staff warm, friendly and helpful.’

Our team is here to help with any queries that you may have about the course or your stay at Gartmore House. You may also like to take a look at our FAQs blog post to see if we answer any of your queries there. Don’t forget that our team are happy to assist with any questions – please feel free to get in touch.

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