Meet Jeff the Spoonsmith

Tuesday March 19, 2019 Written by Taz Liffman

“Feel the rhythm with your hands. Steal the rhythm while you can.” This line, from a track called 'Spoonman' by 90s grunge outfit Soundgarden, could have been written for ‘spoonsmith’ Jeff Done, the subject of the artful short film, above. It wasn't, but it might have been. And with his fulsome beard and Seattle-esque flannel, Done wouldn't have looked out of place in a Soundgarden music clip.

But this man's passion is less about rocking out to Ty Cobb and more about traipsing into the bush, axe in hand, chopping down trees and crafting uber-handsome spoons from their wood. Spoonsmithing, he explains, is "a deeply soul-satisfying experience". And it certainly looks it. This instalment is part of the series Rough Hands which spotlights "makers, artists and artisans".

The film was made by Liam Edward Brennan, Aussie cinematographer and the one-time touring frontman of a band (that also wasn’t Soundgarden). He filmed The Spoonsmith in 2017 between finishing cancer treatment and finding out whether or not he was in remission. "I had a few weeks free of shoots in Brisbane and was going a bit crazy at home, stressing about whether or not I would have to do chemotherapy again," he told Smith. "I decided to hop in my van and go on a road trip, with just my camera to shoot some more Rough Hands pieces. Make something positive out of the negative time. I travelled from Brisbane down to the far reaches of southern NSW, camping from my van and shooting as I went. There is another episode from that trip to come in the next month about a bladesmith."

Brennan explained that the Rough Hands series is about highlighting folk "who have decided to follow what they love as their full-time careers," which he hopes will inspire people to "create more" in their everyday lives. Head here for the full multi-part series.