Cena Parata Est


In seventh grade, I found myself enrolled in Latin class.  Given my lack of effort and interest, it’s a wonder that I retained anything.  I do remember that my class name, Pisces, was a big hit, mostly because the Latin pronunciation sounded a lot like “piss case.”

Since then, my interests and maturity have expanded.  I even decided to carve a Latin phrase into the handle of this cherry serving spoon.  I suppose I could have used the English translation, “Dinner is served,” but I like the bit of mystery the Latin brings to this spoon. Plus, “Magistra” would be so proud of me — awestruck actually.

The requester of this spoon wanted lettering, but gave me the freedom to decide what and how; I enjoy thinking about the design and the focused work of carving the letters. It’s one of the topics I’m planning to get into at Greenwood Fest 2017.  If you haven’t heard yet, Peter, Paula and the rest of the great folks with Plymouth CRAFT have taken on the Herculean task of organizing a second Greenwood Fest.  Peter wrote a bit about it recently here.  They’ve been kind enough to invite me back, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. To keep up with more information as it is released, sign up for Plymouth CRAFT’s e-newsletter here.



This entry was posted in cherry, classes, events, green woodworking, Lettering, spoons, teaching, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Cena Parata Est

  1. Michael says:

    That is beautifully conceived and executed calligraphy David – it has taken me back to a time, some years ago (and now I’m feeling every day of my 60 years) when I was making pottery and was learning a little about calligraphy, and among the potters that truly made an impression on me, was Alan Caiger-Smith. Although I don’t remember him employing letters as decoration (for want of a better word) on his work, the brush strokes were beautifully calligraphic, and the spaces within and between them creating an artwork in its own right. Not only do the strokes and spaces in your spoon fit the handle, it’s as if it was made just for them, and I reckon that’s a balance we are all looking for. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ida VonRuden says:

    I love your spoon. I love your lettering. It flows so beautifully. I’m glad you gave us the translation. In Norwegian rosemaling when using Norwegian words in our design we include the translation on the back. Might be a nice addition if you haven’t already done so. Your carving is just amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ron Daker says:

    David, the letter carving on your bowls and spoons is exquisite – a joy to read. The letters dance and tease the eyes with a playful interplay of shapes and spaces. I can’ t believe you only use a pocket knife to do this. As a graphic designer, I know this is an art in itself, I wonder if you have ever had any typographic experience in any other field. You must do a video on your approach and execution of a piece of lettercarving, please!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Ron, I like the way you expressed the movement of the letters. Thanks. For letters of this size, the pen knife blade makes a lot of sense. All I really used for these is that last quarter inch of blade at the tip, so while I use my pocket knife, other knives with a similar blade tip would work as well.

      No, I don’t have any background in typography or calligraphy. I have read some books about it and the work of Eric Gill and others. I enjoy continuing to experiment with it and learn more; it’s really fascinating to me. I remember, as a kid, browsing the shelves of Gosser’s Office Supply store in downtown Greenville. Sadly, Gosser’s is gone, but I remember gazing upon the calligraphy nibs and all of the other paraphernalia with wishful eyes. I was a bit of an odd kid!


  4. Very nice indeed! Beautifully done. my hand isn’t that steady i think. I have never tried the knife but would like to someday.
    I have a lot of chisels though.One thing I was given was a old German woodcarvers chisel box. Full of old chisels. I haven’t used those much because I admire them so much I don’t want them to get messed up.
    My father was surprised when he knew I did woodworking. He used to and I worked for him awhile. He was surprised I took it seriously and learned Marquetry too.
    As far as my Latin, I use it more for plant identification to be sure it is the right plant. 😉


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