I’m lucky enough that I can turn my hand to a few different crafts but woodwork is not one of my strong ones. I can get leather and metal to do most things I want, but I quickly learnt you can’t force wood to do anything that doesn’t suit it.
I can carve a little, until recently this old spoon is about the limit of my skills in this department, but a good friend once showed me a great little technique for decorating wood, called kolrosing, that even I can manage.
Unlike carving, this does not remove any material from the object being decorated. What you do is make a shallow cut in the surface of the wood with the tip of a sharp knife and then rub powdered wood or bark into the cut, much like scrimshaw work.
Traditionally the powdered bark was something like the inner bark of birch or alder which was darker than the wood and would show up well. Many people now use coffee powder as a convenient replacement but I prefer to use cinnamon
powder which is just powdered bark after all. I decorated the kuksa above, that Debs bought me, and the spoon in just this way.
I start by marking out my design with a soft pencil, which helps to avoid mistakes, then follow the pencil lines with the tip of a sharp knife. Some people use special knives for the purpose but a craft knife works quite well enough.
When the cuts have been made, rub the cinnamon or whatever else you are using into the cuts
with the tip of your finger.