I have another post to do about my trip, but today shot a few lousy photos while I was working inside the shop.
You can see, it’s still very much a construction site, but some of the time I’m working on furniture in it, other times, working on it. today, on it.
a new cabinet that will hold hatchets, right above the chopping block. A dovetailed case, with board doors & wooden hinges. recycled paneling for the doors. You can also see the first few windows that went in, complete with leftover carvings trimming the framing around them. Next will be a shallow shelf under these windows.
Here’s the cabinet – 24″ x 36″ – about 4″ deep. Right now it has no fittings inside, I won’t put the hatchets in until all the windows are in. It hasn’t rained here in southern New England all summer, but I don’t want to push my luck…
Just above the tie beam there is a poster & certificate from my trip to Saterglantan. Jarrod Stone Dahl & I were the 3rd & 4th recipients of the Wille Sundqvist & Bill Coperthwaite Slojd Fellowship awards. Quite an honor…here’s some text from a note Peter Lamb sent out in the spring, giving an idea of the fellowship:
“The Wille Sundqvist and Bill Coperthwaite Slöjd Fellowship is awarded to craftspeople to further deepen the meaning, skills, and connections among those passionate about simple living and handmade objects. The Fellowship provides financial support to green woodworkers and other craftspeople to travel from their home country and share their thinking about handcraft, showcase their skills and design work, further their own research, and extend the international community of interest.”
I am very grateful to Jogge Sundqvist and Peter Lamb for all their work making this award a reality, and to Norman Stevens for his contribution as well. (JoJo Wood & Beth Moen were the first two, at Greenwood Fest this spring) –
Outside, I started putting battens on, got most of the south side done. One more narrow window to be framed on our left here, then I can finish the battens.
Our neighbor Dave made the bird house on the right, and a downy woodpecker has been enlarging Dave’s holes…
He was at it quite a while.
2 years ago, when I left my job & old shop behind, I put a bunch of stuff into storage. Now I’m beginning to get it back. Here’s part of the wood supply, tucked up in the rafters. And our snowshoes, which got zero use in 2016.
Back outside, I couldn’t resist, especially after seeing Sweden. If I had been there first, this would be a different building.
It’s been a summer of inspiration for me in many ways. One way is books. So much book inspiration that I’m building a new bookcase. Just have to see where I can fit it. Here’s a few titles I’m rummaging around in these days.
First up, a gift. Thanks, Jögge.
It’s Jögge Sundqvist’s book Slöjda I Trä (something like “Handicrafts made in wood”) – the publisher is Natur & Kultur, Stockholm. It’s a revised edition of an earlier book of the same title. More projects, more text. Nice clear drawings and diagrams, great photos and COLOR! As you expect from Jögge… it’s in Swedish. http://www.bokus.com/bok/9789127148833/slojda-i-tra/
Another revised edition that just arrived here this week is Victor Chinnery’s Oak Furniture: The British Tradition.
One of the great thrills of my joinery career was getting to know Vic. His book originally came out in 1979, and stayed in print for eons. But since Vic’s death, his wife Jan has been working on revising it for a new edition, and they’ve taken a great book and made it better. When Jan wrote to me asking for help contacting American museums for photos, I thought it was mostly to just add more color. But the new edition is way more than that, there’s better photos all around, lots of color added, it’s true. But many new figures. The old photo numbering system is still there. Each photo is numbered according to the chapter it’s in, thus fig. 3:210. When Jan and the editors have added new items, they get a small letter after the figure number, thus there is a fig. 3:210a, where there wasn’t before. Most of the pictures are bigger, thank-you very much. The book is bigger, which helps. In an age where it seems like everyone but me is running around looking at things on small screens, it’s nice to have some images get bigger rather than smaller. If you are serious about oak furniture, then you’ll want to get this new edition. I’m glad I did…it’s well worth it. (and yes, the cover of Oak Furniture is still a walnut chair. Nice one, Vic). http://www.antiquecollectorsclub.com/uk/store/productdatasheet/9781851497157
I had mentioned some time ago about Lost Art Press’ new edition of Ants Viires’ Woodworking in Estonia. (I just now realized that’s 3 revised books in a row…weird)
I wrote a short intro to it, just some notes about my exposure to the original English edition. Now we get better, clearer illustrations, and a text that is related to what the author wrote. And you can buy it easily, whereas the 1969 edition was like hen’s teeth. Suzanne Ellison wrote a nice history of the book, and how it got to be translated and published by the US government back in the 1960s. If you’re not familiar with the book, the author travelled his native countryside in the 1950s and 60s, recording in photographs, drawings and notes the woodworking practices in the countryside, which he reckoned were soon to disappear. Much of the work presented relates to agricultural work; but lots of it is things for the home – cooperage, boxes, some spoons, some furniture. What always strikes me is the familiarity with the material these craftsmen had. A must-have for green woodworkers… https://lostartpress.com/collections/books/products/woodworking-in-estonia
In some ways, this next book is similar, in that it’s about knowing the properties of trees.
This one, however, is new, and written by woodworkers, it is the Swedish book Slöjden börjar i skogen – The title roughly translates to “Craft begins in the Woods.” How to use what sort of tree where, what sort of growth – straight, crooked, hard wood vs soft. I bought mine at Sätergläntan’s great craft store, an amazingly inspiring place. I have just started to work out some of the text via Google translate. It’s enough to get the gist of it. (here’s the link to Sätergläntan’s store; it’s available elsewhere, but I know nothing about who ships where… http://www.saterglantan.com/butik/butiken/litteratur-sv/slojden-borjar-i-skogen/ )
I had seen this one on Jarrod Stone Dahl’s blog, after one of his earlier trips to Sweden. I haven’t turned a bowl in 2 years, but hope to get to it again before too long. This book was one of those things where I thought, I’m not going to see this again, so better get it now. Might need it later.
Continuing the Swedish theme, when I got home, I was searching used books for one on Swedish vernacular furniture. I didn’t find one yet, but I did find Swedish Folk Art: All Tradition is Change.
(edited by Barbara Klein and Mats Widbom, published by Harry Abrams, 1994) It’s an exhibition catalog of sorts. Lots of great painted interiors for one thing, and there is a good deal of furniture and other decorative arts in it. It’s a very nice book. Makes me want to decorate everything in sight.
I also got the Lost Art Press edition of Charles Hayward’s articles titled The Woodworker: the Charles Hayward Years. I got both volumes, seems silly to scrimp on this sort of reference material. Lots of depth to the ideas, there’s both fundamental and advanced information in there. With this much content, every woodworker is going to come across stuff they don’t agree with, but there’s still many good concepts. (For instance, I hate the way 20th-century woodworkers scribble all over their stock with pencils – all those stupid wiggly lines. Ugh.) All in all well worth having, it gets the usual Lost Art Press treatment, nice production.
One last woodworking book, a gift from our friend Masashi Kutsuwa.
It’s about a chair he’s been studying in Japan, based on a Vincent Van Gogh painting; https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/vincent-van-gogh-van-goghs-chair hence the nickname “Van Gogh chair”. Masashi’s facebook page has some details about the project, starting with Tatsuaki Kuroda’s 1967 trip to Spain to see these chairs being made…this link includes a short film of one of the Spanish chairmakers.
The book traces the introduction of this chair, via imports, into Japan; all the way to Masashi and students making them now in Japan.
And while I was in Sweden, I got 2 books on birds there – I used this one a lot; and I didn’t see the woodpeckers shown below, but I was ready for them…it’s a very good bird book. One thing, the maps are large enough to see…
The next one was pure indulgence. I have a couple other Lars Jonsson books; they’re bird books and art books. I like both.
Too much happened there for me to write the whole thing down. After Täljfest, Jögge Sundqvist led a few of us on a mini-tour of parts of Sweden. We were me, Jogge, Del & Mary Stubbs and Masashi Kutsuwa and his wife Madoka and their daughter Fuku. Jogge kept things beyond interesting.
First stop – I have no pictures I can share with the blog – a storehouse for the Nodiska Museet (Nordic Museum for some of us) – absolutely mind-boggling array of wooden objects. I don’t remember seeing anything that was un-decorated. (the website for the museum down in Stockholm, which can’t possibly compare to its storage collections http://www.nordiskamuseet.se/en – better to work through this site, which can be sorted by object, collection & more http://digitaltmuseum.se/ )
Plymouth CRAFT hosted 2 workshops after the Greenwood Fest 2016. Our model festivals do the workshops first, but we were making things up as we went along, or had scheduling conflicts, or something. So we did them after. One way this was an unexpected benefit is that often you don’t want an event like this to end. So it didn’t have to…
JoJo Wood taught her master class in eating spoons. These are the hardest spoons to make – they HAVE to be right. Cooking spoons & serving spoons can be strange & still work. Just look at my work for evidence of this.
It begins with accurate, well-thought-out hatchet work:
Then, she was not bashful about telling all the old duffers where to cut their spoons to shape…
Working right beside Chris, saying “have faith, cut it like this…”
Meanwhile, Jogge Sundqvist taught his distaff class…a real challenging exercise in shapes, knife, hatchet & drawknife work, & design.
The tin-can opener grasp can be hard to grasp. Jogge helps illustrate proper technique.
Showing where some of these cuts are applicable in spoon carving.
These students made excellent examples…
Except this one – it doesn’t count. It’s Dave Fisher!
You wouldn’t know it’s May here in southeastern New England lately – very cool today. But the calendar says May 16th, which means in a few weeks, (3 1/2) several of us will be running around like the proverbial chickens with their heads cut off, getting ready for Greenwood Fest 2016. We’ve never done this before, and it sure has been a learning experience! One thing we’ve learned – get on the waiting list. The event sold out quickly, but that was a long time ago (January) – and for several folks life has intervened, & they have had to give up their seats. That was good news for those on the waiting list. Paula told me today that there’s 2 new slots open now.
So if you’ve been wishing you could have made it, you still can. Shift your schedule and head to Plymouth June 10-12. This page in the link says 5 slots, but that’s out of date now. There’s 2. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?page_id=2272
While you’re at it, extend your stay and take in Jogge’s class after the main event. The distaff is just the vehicle for practicing the cuts and vocabulary of patterns and shapes. This is Jogge’s only US class this year – and we have 2 spaces left. Somehow I’m going to try to be in 2 places at once during this 2-day class -like that girl in Harry Potter. I’ll check with my kids, maybe they can help me. Otherwise, I’ll be there when I can, because I always learn a lot when I’m with Jogge – his work is like nobody else’s. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=distaff-the-passion-of-carving-with-jogge-sundqvist
Plymouth CRAFT is now a year old. http://www.plymouthcraft.org/ It’s an organization with which I’m thrilled to be involved. After a great first year, 2016 looks to be even better. As you have read here, Greenwood Fest in June will be a memorable event. I’ve been working with Paula Marcoux as we coax all the instructors for details about their sessions. We’re close to the point now where Paula & I have to sit and figure out who does what where & when.
In the meantime, Paula took the chicken way out and booked two workshops that happen after the festival. We had wanted to pursue having the instructors stay a few extra days and teach in-depth classes – but the hardest part was deciding how much of that we could do, then who to tap. It being our first venture, we decided to have just 2 classes – that’s enough for now. These classes will be held at the Pinewoods camp where the Greenwood Fest is happening. Dates are Tuesday and Wednesday, June 14 & 15. Tomorrow registration will open for these small classes – one with JoJo Wood and one with Jögge Sundqvist.
JoJo will explore the finer points of spoon design, concentrating on the most demanding spoon, the eating spoon. I spent about 20 minutes carving with JoJo once and it changed the way I approach things. This class will be small, 10 students. And it will push you in ways you can’t fathom.
Jögge has a treat in store, making a distaff…”A what?” you say. This class is a crash course in Swedish design, tradition, culture and more. Emphasis is on the use of the drawknife, slojd knife, and a couple of other common hand tools. This is a class in technique and thought, not a project-based workshop. Yes, a distaff is a useful thing, for spinners. Here, it’s a symbol.
Back in 1988, I met Jögge Sundqvist while I was the intern at Country Workshops, Drew & Louise Langsner’s school for green woodworking. Jögge came to teach a class that summer, and to shoot a video for Taunton Press on spoon & bowl carving. The video is a companion to his father Wille’s book Swedish Carving Techniques. He and I were both younger then,
While he & I were together in Maine in September, I floated the idea of coming back for Greenwood Fest in June 2016. And he said yes. Enough blather. Here’s Jögge’s blurb, in English.
“I am working with handtools in the self-sufficient scandinavian fine craft tradition, making stools, chairs, cupboards, knifes, spoons, sculpture and shelves painted with artist oil colour. Since the age of 4 I learned using the knife and the axe by my father Wille Sundqvist. Educated at the fine woodcraft Vindeln folkhighscool 1982 – 84. Under the name s u r o l l e I runa professional small business since 1999 where I make sloyd and fine craft. I also teach and give lectures, and write books.”