Pre-Fest bowl class 2018. Seated L-R: Jane, Drew, me, Ron. Standing L-R: Joe, Phil, Steve, Josh, Katie, Martin, Jack, Ed, and Brian.
Carved utensils and other objects are a joy to use and to live with. They are the lasting result of meaningful work. Beyond this, carving is a way to have fun together…. I am optimistic that there is still a chance to pass the art of carving on to future generations.
Wille Sunqvist, Swedish Carving Techniques(1990)
Wille Sundqvist passed away earlier this month. His vision and influence lives on, and was celebrated at the 2018 Greenwood Fest last week, which was dedicated to Wille. Peter Follansbee posted some group photos on his blog today, and he posted a nice dedication to Wille in this post previously.
As seen in the top photo, twelve carvers and I had a lot of fun together as we shaped birch logs into bowls during the Pre-Fest. Not even a downpour dampened their spirits.
During my free session, I was able to wander around and learn from the presentations of some of the other instructors and snap a few photos.
In fifteen minutes of watching Curtis Buchanan and Tim Manney (third from right), I learned more about riving with a froe than I had in twenty five years.
Darrick Sanderson opened my eyes to the subtleties of bowl turning through his skilled demonstration and clear explanations.
Peter Galbert wowed the crowd with feats of strength, a.k.a. steam-bending white oak chair parts.
Jane Mickelborough and Barn “the spoon” Carder were overseeing a relaxing group spoon carving session.
And I was also able to catch much of Robin Wood’s fascinating talk and slide-show about the many woodworking projects he’s been involved in around the world.
I didn’t have a chance to photograph all of the instructors, but I got a few other shots through the event.
Part of the crowd gathers in hopes of winning one of the many donated items in the fundraising raffle.
Brian and Nathan at the chopping blocks in the central carving area.
During the Fest, I demonstrated bowl carving and led a couple short workshops, including this one on letter carving.
For me, the biggest surprise of the Fest came Saturday night when Peter Lamb presented me with one of the two Wille Sundqvist and Bill Coperthwaite Slöjd Fellowships for 2018. The other was awarded to Robin Wood, one of my woodworking heroes and a fantastic guy. What a pleasure to get to know him. It was all a bit surreal to receive such an honor. Or maybe it was the disco lights behind me.
Peter Follansbee is to my left. Without his influence, I’d still be under my rock.
I have tremendous respect for Peter Lamb and Jögge Sundqvist, and I look forward to the opportunity to further learn, explore, and share the joy of handwork. What a journey it has already been, one guided by many whom I’ve never directly met, including Wille and Bill.
Their books continue to be a strong influence. And If you haven’t seen the video The Spoon, the Bowl and the Knife, treat yourself to an inspiring exploration of Wille’s life, work and techniques.
In his book, A Handmade Life, Bill Coperthwaite wrote, “I want to live in a society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.” There are more and more people sharing that vision, and I had the privilege of being with many of them at Greenwood Fest.
It was Bill that first arranged for Wille to come to the United States back in 1978. At the Fest and many other gatherings, large and small around the world, the efforts of both men continue to bear fruit.
Sixteen-year-old Gabriel and his father, Geoff, at the Fest for the second time — all the way from Vancouver.