Photos by Eleanor Hilley


Whittling is a small, simple pastime that is becoming increasingly popular each year with people both young and old.

Originally the old Scandinavian practice, created probably without much thought at all, was quickly picked up around the world as a mindless, relaxing way to pass the time. Any young boy with a Swiss army knife and a twig picked up from the ground could find pleasure in such an activity, and eventually it became something that everyone’s father did while sitting on the porch.

It was a pastime that we shared without noticing it, with our father, our grandfather, and probably with his father and his father’s father. 

With the development of personal technologies within the recent decades, more and more people lost interest in simple fashions such as whittling, which is a word that many children now have probably never heard. Yet in such a digital age as this, people are aching for simplicity of living again— the simplicity we knew before the change of communication, social interaction, and the introduction of instantaneous entertainment. 

In whittling we find a clarity of mind, simplicity and rest.
Carving out, one by one, little thin shavings of wood until you’re left with a smoother, smaller piece of wood. 

But the point isn’t the end result. The joy is in the shaving and in clearing one’s mind.
With this, I encourage you to take a walk into the woods, and with that old pocket knife that you rarely use, sit in the quiet and whittle.