Surreal Places: Cramlington’s Giant Spoon

A giant ‘silver’ spoon sticking out of the ground isn’t something you stumble upon every day on a quiet country walk.

But there it was standing right in front of me – a dessert spoon 18 feet tall, glittering in the spring sunshine.

What was even more surprising was that it was slap bang in the middle of a quiet footpath running from Cramlington to Seghill village in Northumberland.

But how did the spoon come to ‘land’ in this unlikely location, a stone’s throw away from Cramlington Emergency Hospital?

A Spoonful of Surrealism

The stainless steel spoon is actually an installation created by international artist Bob Budd who is renowned for placing unfamiliar objects in everyday landscapes.

Amongst his other famous works are an enormous cookery rolling pin covered in grass in Belgium, a pair of giant-sized spectacles in an Andorran wool factory, and a large marble sausage on a plinth in a woodland near Munich.

The one thing they have is common is that they appear to be ‘out of context’ in their immediate environments.

But look closer and there’s a stronger link to their locations than first meets the eye. Budd’s works make you think about the landscape you’re standing in and our relationship with it, past and present. They are also intriguing and fun.

Take an aerial tour of the sculpture in this drone video…

Video courtesy of Tone Drone 2022

Food for Thought

Many of Bob Budd’s works have an environmental or agricultural theme combined with a sculptural element.

The super-sized spoon provides food for thought as you approach it and ponder the meaning of this mysterious structure. It’s a question that has had visitors scratching their heads since it appeared in 2006.

For me, it’s a comment on consumerism and food production, and suggests that we’ve lost touch with the land and soil where our food is grown.

When it was first installed, artist Bob Budd told the BBC why he chose the location close to Cramlington’s arable farmland. “I would say that’s a very logical place for a spoon to be – a place where arable crops fields for food are grown and produced.”

I got in touch with Bob Budd to ask him about the relevance of the sculpture today. He was keen to stress how there continues to be an increasing disconnect between our daily lives and agriculture.

“After 15 years, I’m very glad that the Spoon continues to be a popular destination for people to visit on their walks through the countryside. It should be a fun, but also draw on people’s imagination as to why it’s there – a disconnect between our daily lives and agriculture.

“As a mostly urban population we have little idea of how food is produced and what negative effects that has on the natural environment.

“Since we are moving so very slowly on appreciating our dependence on the soil and nature, the Spoon continues to be as relevant today as when it was made.” 

Artist Bob Budd

Budd wanted to place the sculpture where people would stumble across it rather than locating it in the middle of the town centre.

It was originally commissioned for the “Wildspace Art Trail” campaign in 2006 which was designed to encourage people to explore the countryside.

Photos copyright and courtesy of Bob Budd

Installing this large sculpture must’ve been a challenge but I love the photographs of it being lifted into place – and its creator sitting on top of the spoon.

Today ‘The Spoon’ resonates even more than when it was first positioned on the walkway at a time when green issues are very much to the fore.

Artist Bob Budd is master of surreal surprises which makes a trip to his sculpture especially sweet and rewarding. There isn’t much interpretative signage which means that you have to make your own assumptions about the spoon’s significance and meaning.

A visit to the Giant Spoon is a real treat which I’d strongly recommend. I’ll be back for second helpings soon!

Getting to the Spoon

Cramlington Silver Spoon Sculpture
Aerial view of the Spoon

The Giant Spoon is located in East Cramlington in Northumberland. Park at the Bay Horse Inn pub car park (or nearby) and cross over the busy main road. You’ll see a pedestrian underpass and subway which runs under the A189.

Follow the underpass path for 400 metres to the Giant Spoon which is located on the side of the path between two fields. It’s impossible to miss the shiny giant piece of cutlery looming up in front of you. Check out the map and walking route

Quick tip – there’s a parallel path around the edge of the farmer’s field which is accessible from a short turn-off to your right of the footpath, about 50 metres after the underpass. This path is less muddy than the main track especially following wet weather. It rejoins the main path after about 200 metres.

Wear sensible walking shoes because the path to the sculpture can get muddy and slippery especially after heavy rain.

You can also approach the Giant Spoon from the Seghill village end of the footpath.  Look out for a public footpath signposted from Klondyke to East Cramlington.

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