The Spoon Man

Roger Filippelli
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Location

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Latitude: 38.725292 Longitude: -120.805179 Elevation: 1924 ft
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Natalie Yanish

Introduction

Roger Filippelli, aka the Spoon Man, creates hand made spoons and utensils. Born in Ohio and raised in San Francisco, the Spoon Man now lives in Placerville in a Craftsman house built in 1926.

The Spoon Man graduated from San Francisco State, and enjoyed 36 wonderful years teaching art in junior college and various high schools, where he mentored several students who are now talented working artists. He has shown artwork in numerous galleries and juried art shows, with media ranging from porcelain to pastels, to wood and clay.

The Spoon Man perceives the world through an artistic lens saying that, "everything, everybody has shape, sound, movement, function and color."

His wife, Chrissie, says, "He has creative energy in his hands that has to express itself daily."

Roger confesses: "Whether I’m designing a garden bed or a new kitchen tool, my hands have a need to create. I have had the good fortune to live a great life while expressing myself through many forms of media. I exercise and discipline my perceptive senses which provide my window to the world."

Being Italian, Roger loves to cook and enjoy fine kitchen tools and gadgets. Inspiration for a new design might come from an antique implement he finds and wants to reinvent with wood. Custom orders bring new ideas as well. Interacting with attendees at fairs is not only fun, but provides invaluable input on new and existing ideas. Roger enjoys watching people discover the subtle details he puts into his wood pieces.

The wood used in the utensils come from many sources such as local salvaged trees, a walnut plank someone has found in a garage corner, a recycled maple floor torn out from an old school, or hickory scraps from the flooring of a new house. The cherry and maple wood come from Tennessee, Koa from Hawaii and Olivewood from Jerusalem.

Waste products are minimal since Roger uses very small pieces to add artistic nature to tools. He may decorate or laminate handles, strengthen joints with splines, or insert small dots for color. He combines different wood types to add visual depth as well as to strengthen the integrity of a piece. What few wood scraps Roger has left over provide heat in a neighbor’s woodstove.

"I enjoy the process of considering a plank of wood – noting its grain, shape, texture, color and individual personality. One might say an event in the life of a tree can create unique characteristics. So-called “blemishes” often become the highlight of a piece I design. I let the wood guide me as to what it wants to become. The future of some planks is obvious. For instance I might know that I need 12 pair of chopsticks and then proceed to carve them all out of a piece of curly koa. Other planks and chunks of wood may await their futures in my studio until I know what they will become." states Roger.

The hand carved utensils made by the Spoon Man are intended to be used often, and only become more beautiful with use. They will last forever and acquire a rich patina with use and repeated washings. The only maintenance suggested is to rub a bit of warm olive oil on them occasionally to keep their luster. Not only are his creations useful tools, but pieces of art to gift to family and friends.

Comments

I am one of his high school students and think of him, and thank him often for what he shared with me.

Jim Hensley, 6/17/2011

I’m also a past student of both Roger and his lovely wife, Chrissie. Both were such an inspiration to me. I see a trip to Placerville in the near future!...love you both! W.

William WIlbur, 7/15/2013

I wonder if I knew you from San Francisco State around 1960? Only reason I ask is that you gave me a little cast silver ring that looks like a bit like Stonehenge. I still have it . If I had your email I’d send you a pic. Your early work. I still like the ring.

Hermine Daniels, 5/1/2015

Oops. My email, hermined@sbcglobal.net

Hermine Daniels, 5/1/2015

Your spoons are wonderful! I hope all is well in your world, xxx's & ooo's (I'll never forget you staying with me in the cave when I was so afraid)

Love, Cara, 5/14/2016

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