Bill Gordon

hand carved wooden spoons

Originally from rural North Devon and with few academic skills, I spent 7 “lost years” at Art school. But in 1980, I was offered a job as a drystone waller for the Peak District National Park. One thing led to another and I became a “live in” custodian of land, a metaphorical shepherd of the landscape and this became my palate. I was awarded the BEM in 2016 for work in conservation in the Peak District in regards to the protection of the Ring Ouzel.

Working for 37 years looking after 1200 acres of moorland which included running a farm, I developed an intimacy with the natural and cultural environment.  However, over a period of time watching and ‘being part of it', I quickly became aware that things weren’t right.  Having grazing animals with the massive changes in agricultural practices and extreme weather patterns, it became seriously noticeable that we were seeing a loss of biodiversity, failure and decline, leading to eventual loss of bird species.

Sadly, I feel confident that time is running out and the loss of biodiversity is the greatest threat to the planet.

Since retiring, making has become an obsession and intuitively the objects evolve over time.  I still feel a bit of an imposter and making always gives me surprises plus it’s all so low in technology and the only requirement is a few knives!

My spoons and images are often ornate and use symbols and like African (Animism) and Polynesian “Art” look to contain spirit.  Each is unique and has its own story.

Using the metaphor of a simple utility object like a spoon to express belief, power and knowledge is bound up the with Polynesian concept of Mana and Tapu.  “Mana” is the spiritual life force, energy or healing power that permeates the universe. “Tapu” is the Polynesian tradition denoting something holy or sacred.