We are extremely fortunate in the Blue Mountains to have a thriving handmade community. From artists and sculptures, to sewers, spinners and fibre art, local makers are keeping traditional crafts going. This is true for sister duo The Mulberry Two who are keeping the craft of wood carving alive, creating beautiful homewares.
This year we are excited to have The Mulberry Two debuting at their first Blue Mountains Etsy Made Local Market. We asked Lucy and Rosalie to share a little bit more about their creations, the processes they use and what sparked the idea to start The Mulberry Two.
Tell us about the Mulberry Two: Who are you and what do you do?
We are two siblings united by a love of hand-crafting and passion for sustainability. We like to try our hands at many different crafts, and we hope to include these in our offerings down the track, but for now we are focused on carving scoops and spoons in as many forms as we can dream of!
What lead you to start The Mulberry Two?
It’s hard to pinpoint that first spark that set what we’ve now named The Mulberry Two in motion. Maybe it was making mud pies under our giant mulberry tree as kids, or cooking funny face shaped pikelets on Friday afternoons but as siblings we’ve been creating together always.
Now we are grown up it can be harder to get together and nurture that creative spark, so recently we made a double pinky promise with each other to make it a priority, and we named this The Mulberry Two.
Where did the name Mulberry Two come from?
Our childhood home had a glorious mulberry tree in the backyard that most of our childhood adventures seemed to revolve around. It was HUGE, about one story high, and it had a “cubby house” with a basket on a pulley that could be used to send mulberries to the kitchen (or as we preferred it – a picnic basket from the kitchen to our cubby). We threw around lots of names at the beginning, but The Mulberry Two felt the most “us”.
Can you please describe what you make and the processes you use to create them? Do you use any particular methods, machines etc
We make unique wooden hand carved scoops, spoons, and trays. We collect freshly fallen wood, split it and saw it into manageable sized pieces. We then carve it while green using a small selection of hand tools - usually just a hook knife and a straight knife. When we are happy with the piece we leave it to dry out slowly (too quick and it may crack!) before doing finishing cuts with a sharp knife, which leaves a polished surface - smoother than if sanded. After this the spoon is branded with our makers mark and finished with a few coats of a blend of locally sourced beeswax and sustain-ably sourced coconut oil.
What materials do you use to make your items? Where do you source them from?
We use predominantly green wood to make our items – this means that the wood is fresh from the tree when we work with it. We source our wood from an arborist friend, individual’s gardens, windfall from storms, and occasionally through a swap or off-cuts from another maker. We chose to do it this way because we don’t want to be contributing to the logging of forests to get our creative fix.
How long have you been creating for The Mulberry Two?
The Mulberry Two came into being at the start of this year.
Where do you create your items?
Everywhere! Spoon carving is extremely portable, so once the wood is at a manageable size all you need is a handful of tools and some free time. We’ve carved at markets, while camping, at friends’ houses, on holidays - all over the place! Mainly though we create at our homes – I (Lucy) have a section of my garage set up as a workshop, as well as a little corner of my house so I can try to get some carving done while supervising my small tribe of toddlers.
What is your favourite item design?
Lucy – I’m really enjoying geometric shapes at the moment - they drive my husband mad because they aren't 100% perfect (I do them freehand, no rulers here!) but I think that is what makes them unique and gives the user a connection to the maker.
Rosalie – At the moment I’m searching my creative capacity to make the perfect moon scoop, with a handmade twist. I think they are so great for scooping tea leaves and as an avid tea drinker I won’t stop until I’ve made the perfect one!
When and how did you learn the art of wood carving? Who taught you or are you self-taught?
We are largely self-taught – Lucy started her first spoon one evening at a “spoon club” - with a plank of wood and some semi blunt tools and from there she was hooked. She quickly recruited me (Rosalie) to the craft and from there we both watched videos, joined Facebook groups, read, and learned through trial and error. Along the way Lucy had a chance encounter with some other spoon carvers when collecting a bird of paradise plant from Crop Swap Sydney and more recently did a mini workshop with “The Spoonsmith”, Jeff Donne (a spoon genius). Our technique and process has come a long way since that first spoon.
What do you love about this particular craft?
The endless possibilities, the connection with nature, the challenge of the grain in each piece of wood, and the practicality of the finished piece.
Have you had any disasters in the making process?
No huge disasters (yet!), but the odd failed spoon – a crack that opens up during drying – or once I got so excited by how well I’d sharpened my knife that I lost focus and carved right through the bottom of the spoon!
What do you love about having a handmade creative business?
So many things! We love that it encourages us to create constantly – with full time jobs or small children it can be easy to forget to spend time doing creative things for you but we believe it is really important to have that creative outlet. We also love doing markets – hearing people’s stories, seeing which spoons they pick, seeing their delight when they find the right spoon.
What are your thoughts on the ‘Handmade Movement’? What do you love about handmade items and shopping handmade?
I love the individual care that goes into each piece; that the when buying handmade, the money I spend goes towards a real person who is passionate about doing what they love; and that each piece is unique.
What do you enjoy about living and creating in the Blue Mountains?
There is a brilliant community of makers and everyone we’ve met since starting The Mulberry Two is so kind and helpful. We have a BOSS community up here in the Mountains of genuinely wonderful, creative and quirky people!
You can shop The Mulberry Two’s wood carved spoons at at the Etsy Made Local Blue Mountains Christmas Artisan Market, Saturday 24th November, 9-3pm, Norman Lindsay Gallery, 14 Norman Lindsay Crescent Faulconbridge.
The Etsy Made Local Blue Mountains market is hosted by the Blue Mountains Makers Etsy Team.