Slöjd is a fool´s hope

Rewilding

One thing I learned in the states is that there are places that are truly sacred. Where you can feel the energy of nature almost taking a physical form, becoming a person.

We were guided to a sacred place by someone who could prepare us for what we were about to meet. And I am wondering now that if we hadn´t been that – maybe I would not have seen it?

My relationship with nature is of a kind that I appreciate its beauty and I feel a serenity when I spend time outside. Yes, I can be with myself. But I never tried to make it something religious or spiritual.

How are we supposed to be with nature, to really see those sacred things? Or maybe even more to feel them… I am always aware now, that those places can be around me. And I am trying to blur out the boundaries between myself and other beings. Trying to see the small things, plants, spiders, birds as I would look on a person. Or see myself not as a person…

The spoons are taking me somewhere

Right now I love every spoon I make. Not that they are perfect or “the best one”. It is the way that they come into sight for me. It feels like I could stop anywhere in the process and the spoon would be finished. It is the way you would think that art feels.

Slöjd is a fool´s hope

It feels like I need to pause everything for a while. Just to breathe. That´s the constant feeling in this race. In the mornings, when I leave the kids at school, I see everyone struggle to adjust their lives to a rigid system of theoretics. Slöjd is a fool´s hope for me. Spooncarving has a logistic, almost the only one, that works in my every day life.

the knife and the axe – there is a constant flow

I have recently read two great books about spoons; by barnthespoon and hatchetandbear . I just recently visited northhousefolkschooland on Friday my own book theartofwhittling is released on carltonbooks


The more I carve spoons and the more I feel that other people get involved in spooncarving, the more meaningful it feels. And the more meaningful it feels the more spiritual it is.
Yesterday’s carving was total enlightenment – every single cut felt meaningful.
And I decided to do something I don’t do – an art spoon. 


The knife and the axe: there is a constant flow.
The shape of the handle represents the constant unsymmetrical and shifting flow of the river. The carvings are the little spirits of the woods, the axe and the knife.

North House Folk School

In september I held two courses at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. It was a great experience since I haven´t been to another continent before. I went with my girlfriend Anna-Karin.

After a nine hour flight from Amsterdam across the Atlantic we landed in Minneapolis. It was a strange feeling. After all the security- and paper checks we stepped out of the terminal and suddenly I realized I was on another continent, a different soil. Then it was all as usual – and then I realized – again – I was really on another continent… and so on.

We went to Deb and Dan´s place where we would stay for two days. And we had pizza in their back yard under a great ash tree.

In the morning we had breakfast at Butter, Dan´s restaurant, a great place, before we went to the American Swedish Institute.

We drove up to Grand Marais and North House. And now I let the photos speak…

 

Deb and Dan´s House, pizza in the garden

 

The american Swedish Instiitute

We were invited to Eric and Michelle for dinner with good company Paul Linden, Jarrod and Jazmin. I got some walnut and cherry from Eric and Michelle. The storefront is their combined woodshop and hairsalon! On the way back Paul took me to see the First Avenue. 

The shore of Lake Superior in Duluth.

Our neighbour across the street in Grand Marais.

The angry trout cafe, next door to North House.

Spoonblanks from cherry. Nice carving!

North House Folk School by the waters of Lake Superior.

Grand Marais.

Spooncarvingclass at North House Folk School. 

Dinner with the interns, Skyler and Anna in this photo, and Anna-Karin to the right. We had some spicy nachos!

Finished cherry spoon, carved by the Lake Superior.

Pizza potlock. Fulton IPA and Greg White, Director of North House Folk School.

Folk artisan marketplace. Angela Robins is in the Artisan Development Program.

Folk artisan marketplace. Unknown broom-maker and April Stone making ash-baskets.

Beth Homa-Style from the Artisan Development Program.

Happy craft shoppers.

One of my spatulas painted by rosmåling artist Mary.

Birch bark workshop at Folk artisan marketplace.

Candace Lacosse, Hemlocks Leatherworks.

Wildrising with Tim Cochrane. Tim took us up to the Grand Portage Reservation and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for a truly unforgettable experience.

The lighthouse in Grand Marais.

Canoe building class. What else?

I got some Osage Orange from Jim Bodin. Great carving!

Spooncarving course number two. Carving outside.

Greg and his family invited us to dinner and a look at their beautiful garden. Olia showed us the chickens and ducks.

Kay`s house, where we had a really good time.

Anna, one of the interns at North House.

The drive back to Minneapolis.

Paul Linden gave us a tour of the University´s art department in Minneapolis.

Good time carving at Liesl and Erin´s place night before we left.

 

Liesl´s special coffee gave us powers for the journey home. End grain cup turned by Jarrod Stone Dahl on a spring pole lathe.

 

 

Soffa av återvunnet trä.

I somras gjorde jag en soffa exklusivt för en utställning på Not Quite galleri i Fengersfors. Den är handhyvlad, tappad och pluggad med tränaror. Träet är gammalt golv och innertak som är återvunnet. Den finns nu i min webshop. Pris 9 900 kr. Fri frakt.

Sofa up in the store! Link in bio. I did this sofa exclusively for an exhibition at @notquitefengersfors this summer (no it was not sold). It is made from reclaimed ceiling and floorboards. Assembled with mortis and tenon with wooden pegs. Handplaned. Now it can be yours. Price: 9 900 SEK. Free shipping in Sweden.

The Art Of Whittling – sneak peek.

Idag fick jag en advance copy av min kommande bok The Art Of Whittling från förlaget, Carlton Books. Naturligtvis gjorde jag en unboxing video 🙂

Så här är en liten sneak peek på innehållet och lay-outen. Min son fick hålla i kameran för mitt stativ gick sönder när jag var i fjällen och fiskade tidigare i sommar.

Boken släpps på Carlton Books den 5:e oktober.

 

Strategier

Vi har alla våra strategier att leva i en sönderfallande värld.
En del hamnar i apati och psykisk ohälsa. Andra försöker förändra den, alltmedan de lever på som vanligt, så som vi måste; normer, ett ekonomiskt system, hur socialt konstruerat det än är, byggt på våra hjärnors förmåga att skapa våra egna regler, är ju en väl så tvingande omständighet.
En del säger åt oss att jobba mer, för bara då kan vi skapa förutsättningar för något nytt.
En del avfärdar allt.

Själv så blev min lott i livet att tillbringa en stor del av min tid täljandes skedar vid Ljusnans stränder. Det är som om jag blivit fråntagen möjligheten att ha ett normalt arbetsliv. Men jag har kommit att tycka om min lösryckta tillvaro. En sällsam känsla av rewilding kan komma över mig. En känsla av att vilja dras ner i mossan och jorden till en förlorad dvala, eller att få somna och vakna vid de sandiga iskanterna där streck av invandrande fåglar stryker trädtopparna.
Ibland känns det som om jag umgås med naturen som man gör med en döende släkting. Man försöker att glömma det förflutna, glömma allt det dåliga och se det bra. Framförallt att ta vara på de sista stunderna tillsammans och försöka att inte fastna i att man önskar de hade varit fler, att man hade haft mer tid.

Mail from Larry.

I got an e-mail the other day. My girlfriend was so touched by it she started to cry. Well, I can say it warmed my heart too.

Hi Niklas,

I am Larry Cooper, a blacksmith  (for 31 years, full time) in North Carolina, USA.  I first saw your work in a video nearly a decade ago; you were carving wooden pegs for a rake.  I have followed your other videos since then and now found you on instagram ( I am @bentheretoo) as my interest in spoon carving is growing.

I just wanted to thank you for all the work you have done over the years and let you know I appreciate what you are doing. Your instructional videos are wonderful and your work is beautiful.

Thank you for your inspiration along the way.

Larry Cooper

gullandforge.com

 

I started thinking. It is insane how long it has been.

I use to say to my kids that I remember when the video came. It was a neighbours kid that told me they had got a video. He told me what it was and I said that it was impossible; “you can only see movies when they are on the TV”. You know, at a certain time. He insisted it was true. So he wrote VIDEO in the snow with a stick, just to make it clear. And I remember those crooked letters in the snow like it is a movie playing.

When I first started making my handcraft movies it was before Youtube. I have always been late accepting new technique, but when we started making a web-page for HV-school, when I studied the higher craft education there, I got internet-hubris. I thought that craft, with its photogenic qualities would look great on the internet. In the early days of internet the thing was very much “what can we use it for”? None of those programmers saw really much potential to be honest. And as a coincidence my father dumped his new computer in the apartment where I lived, probably because he had no use for it.

I used an ordinary/analog cam-corder to make my first movies. The clips were then recorded from a TV-screen with a web-cam. I always checked PC För Alla (Swedish PC magazine) for useful freeware and most important – which web hotel offered the best hosting. Most web hotels didn`t even have space for any video at all. Remember that this was before Youtube, so you had to have your own server space to store your clips. One big frustration was of course that the people that were my target group probably couldn´t watch the clips anyway because you had to have flash installed, and very few had. One of the reasons that I kept going was probably that Aftonbladet, one of swedens main evening papers, reviewed my site and put it on a really nice list of “cool websites” calling it poetic.

Well, I don`t know how to wrap this up. We got to live now. This is what we have. And although I´m not really sure I like internet that much, I do love photo and film. But I´m not sure I would have taken it as far if I hadn´t been so sure I had something to tell. When I started studying handcraft there was so little written not to mention film.

Well, that was how I started making film on the internet. Larry and I have continued our correspondence and we both started to grow our interest for handcraft in a very different time from now.

 

The Art Of Whittling.

I vår har jag ägnat mycket tid åt att skriva en bok om täljning för Carlton Books. Boken ges ut den 5 oktober men finns på Amazon för pre-order (och för några små glimtar ur boken).

Tälja skedar på Sätergläntan.

Den 24-28 juli håller jag en femdagars kurs i skedtäljning på Sätergläntan. Två platser finns kvar! Mer information på Sätergläntans hemsida här. Jag kommer också instagramma på Sätergläntans instagramkonto den veckan.