Meet the Maker
For Jonathan, it all started the day he forgot to put a spoon in his lunch bag while working as an apprentice to a furniture maker. He took a piece of scrap wood and quickly shaped a spoon. He had majored in art and design at the University of Illinois, and wanted to create something both beautiful and functional, which led him to explore working with wood.
In 1978, following his apprenticeship, he worked in a canoe-seat factory in Maine. When he was laid off from his job, he wanted to work for himself. His home workshop was in the garage, and at 20 degrees below zero, it was too cold for glue to set so he could only make single piece products.
That's when he remembered spoons.
After trading spoons for food, and barely surviving, he moved back to his home state of Pennsylvania where he began making spoons and selling them.
Jonathan's spoons have developed over the years. Originally made of uncommon spoon woods such as lilac, plum, and honeysuckle, he has since chosen to make his spoons of cherry wood. This is a hardwood with handsome color and grain, durable, smooth, and strong. His utensils have a unique sense of balance and warmth because they are designed with the hand and purpose in mind. "Spoons" have become spatulas, tongs, spaghetti forks, spreaders, and more.
Jonathan's work has been influenced by the world around him as well as "a truth held within". He grew up surrounded by magnificent architecture and design in his hometown of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. The Bryn Athyn Cathedral and several local mansions built near the turn of the 20th century hold fantastic examples of wood, tile, and stained glass work produced during the American Arts & Crafts Movement. This elegant simplicity of design is considered in the evolution of Jonathan's work. His father encouraged him to establish his own business. "He taught me that God's creation operates from a principle of individual freedom, with power from God, given as if it is our own power, from which we freely create our own lives. This philosophy remains a major inspiration for me in creating and growing my work and business." His father also taught him that ideas come from the desire for, and activity of usefulness. In all of his work Jonathan strives for a balance of the use in the tactile and aesthetic qualities, with the use of utility and purpose.
From the start-up days of producing spoons in a chilly workshop in Maine, Jonathan's Spoons has grown into a successful craft business. They have a shop in rural Kempton, Pennsylvania where two brothers; Shawn and Neil Claypoole have joined Jonathan in creating his many designs. Jonathan exhibits his work at select craft shows around the country, to include the annual American Craft Council shows and Paradise City shows. A busy show schedule requires a lot of traveling; fortunately Jonathan often finds himself accompanied by his lovely wife, Julia. Together, they find it rewarding to share in the offering of quality American made arts and crafts.