Working as an apprentice to a furniture maker, Jonathan Simons opened his lunch bag to discover he was missing a spoon. Using scrap wood and the shop tools, he made his own spoon. This simple act of necessity planted the seed for what would later become Jonathan’s Spoons.
In 1978, Jonathan decided to work for himself. Drawing upon his background as an art and design major at the University of Illinois, he sought to create useful items with aesthetic appeal, and wood was a material that offered a myriad of possibilities. Recalling the spoon he once made for himself, he decided to specialize in handmade spoons.
The business had humble beginnings. Jonathan sometimes traded spoons for food and totaled only $6,000 in sales after the first year. In 1979 he moved back to his home state of Pennsylvania, which offered milder temperatures and excellent native hardwood.
The spoons themselves evolved over time. Originally made of uncommon woods such as lilac, plum, and honeysuckle, they are now handcrafted from cherry wood. This is a hardwood with a handsome color and grain. It is durable, smooth, and strong. In addition, the product line has expanded to include spatulas, tongs, spaghetti forks, spreaders, and other items. All of Jonathan’s utensils are designed to perfectly fit in the human hand as it performs a variety of functions. That is why each piece feels both sturdy and precise. Current products feature a natural cherry finish—a flame-blackened surface with a sanded edge, revealing an accent of warm cherry wood—as well as flame-blackened spots and stripes.
Jonathan’s aesthetic sense was shaped by the magnificent architecture and design in his hometown of Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. In particular, the Bryn Athyn Cathedral and several turn-of-the-20th-century mansions showcase wood, tile, and stained glass work from the American Arts & Crafts Movement.
Entrepreneurship was encouraged by Jonathan’s father, who also taught him that individuals’ creative freedom is a pure expression of the power of God. Jonathan is driven by a hunger to produce high quality pieces that are not only beautiful but also truly functional.
Jonathan's Spoons has grown into a successful craft business with a shop in rural Kempton, Pennsylvania where two brothers contribute to many of the designs.
Jonathan and his wife Julia frequently travel to craft shows. They find it incredibly rewarding to share in the offering of quality, American-made arts and crafts.