150 spoons and counting

Langley Fine Arts teacher Panagiotis Peter Sarganis showcases wooden utensil artwork at Fort Gallery

Panagiotis Peter Sarganis never thought about carving spoons in his life, but a chance trip to Lee Valley Tools led to 150 made in 18 months and now an exhibition at Fort Gallery.

“Me and a colleague of mine were carpooling from Fort Langley to Vancouver and we stopped at Lee Valley Tools in Coquitlam. On the shelf, there was a book on how to carve spoons,” Sarganis explained.

“I said I was absolutely not interested, but there happened to be a spoon workshop happening at Lee Valley and my friend said we should go.”

Sarganis, a visual arts instructor at the Langley School of Fine Arts, drug his feet and end up attending on a whim.

At the workshop, roughly cut spoon shapes were provided for people to carve the intricacies they wanted. From the first moment, he was hooked.

“I love making things that are tactile. I’ve always painted and sculpted which was a part of my degree in fine arts. When I thought about it, I always carved objects, but with clay. So this just felt very natural,’ Sarganis said.

He took to the process so quickly, Sarganis made 30 in the first month – experimenting with different asymmetrical and perfectly aligned shapes.

Using wood that he purchased, was gifted, or even collected from nature, Sarganis then works with knives and u-shape gouges to carve his art.

“I had been working on the largest one I had made – three feet – but I carved the bowl so deep I could see sunlight poking through. I was so mad at myself because it was my favourite one, but I ended up attaching a new bowl,” Sarganis said.

“It made me realize I could take one peice and attach another carved by myself or one that I found, carved by what some might call Mother Nature.”

The Lee Valley instructor noticed Sarganis’ spoons and became so impressed, he appointed him as the workshop’s new teacher. It was there Sarganis said a member of Fort Gallery took his class and noticed his unique work.

A year and a half since he started carving spoons as a lark, Sarganis has his own exhibition at the gallery called Spoonful, running July 31 to Sept. 1.

Read more: Artist takes Langley beyond barriers

“I had friends asking if they could buy my spoons or put in a request, but I said no. I wanted to do a show of some kind first. Now they are for sale in gallery. It’s a labour of love and I just want to share ideas and have a good show.”

An opening reception and artist talk will be held at Fort Gallery, Aug. 2, 7 to 9 p.m.

Musical guest Issy Cendes will perform a concert at the gallery, 7 to 9 p.m. on Aug 23.

Sarganis will lead a spoon carving workshop on Aug 25 from 12 to 5 p.m – registration is required.

Sarganis is also offering carving classes to his Langley Fine Arts students so they can feel what it’s like to work with their hands and get the chance to use physical tools.

People can visit www.fortgallery.ca for more information on Spoonful.

Fort Gallery is located at 9048 Glover Rd and open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

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