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Spoons To Stir The Soul: The World Of Norm Sartorius

Spoons To Stir The Soul: The World Of 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." -Norm Sartorius.

Norm Sartorius (b. 1947) has built a unique career sculpting wooden spoons that, as he says, “stir the soul, not the soup.” Leaving a job in psychiatric social work, he embarked as a young man on a quest to find something tangible to make with his hands. With no background, he apprenticed with versatile crafters Phil and Sandye Jurus in Baltimore. He learned about tools and techniques in wood and metal. Leaving the city, he became a hippie homesteader in the mountains of West Virginia living on 25 acres on a remote mountaintop for five years. He sold functional woodenware of various kinds at local craft fairs, but it was his spoons that caught people’s attention. They had an artistic flair that hinted at ta deep artistic well of ideas and forms expressed as spoonish sculptures. Norm, too has said that spoons held a special attraction for him from the start.

Now 30 years on, Norm has “stayed in his seat,” exploring the common wooded spoon as a context for sculpture. Using woods of exceptional beauty, he shapes each spoon to stand as a unique artistic statement of color, form, and texture. Advancing the art of the spoon to a very high level, each work is inspired by the wood itself, and draws on his deep repository of creative ideas and ancient spoon making traditions worldwide.

The book works as both a biography of Norm Sartorius and a catalogue of his work. From his early days as the son of a country doctor to his beginnings in wood craft and eventual growth into an influential spoon carver. 

  • Author: Craig Edelbrock and Norm Sartorius
  • Published by: The Center for Art in Wood
  • Photography: Jim Osborn
  • 289 pages

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