Carving Books and Vintage Video

IMG_4923About a year and a half ago, at Greenwood Fest 2016, Jögge Sundquist taught a class on carving a Swedish distaff, traditionally used for holding flax or other fibers while spinning.  As Jögge explained, when a man proposed marriage to a woman, he carved an ornamental distaff as a gift for her.  The skill reflected in the carving would be a reminder of his qualities as a potential partner and mate.  If she accepted the gift, all was set, no need for words or a jumbotron proposal.

IMG_4932I had started a distaff then, but hadn’t gotten around to it since.  I’ve finally finished it as a little Christmas gift for my daughter, my wife having been fooled, I mean wooed, by me many years ago.

With the vibrant colors and whimsical bold patterns, it was a fun, if temporary, exploration into Jögge’s style, and it reminded me that Jögge’s book, Slöjda I Trä, will soon be out in English (Sloyd in Wood).

The photo at left shows Jögge’s colorful book.  My copy is in Swedish, but the photos of Jögge’s amazing work are in a universal language, as are the wonderful pen and ink illustrations.

IMG_4933Many of you know that Jögge’s biggest woodworking hero is his father, Wille.  Wille’s book, Swedish Carving Techniques is a must-have book if you’d like to carve spoons and bowls.

That book is not only an incredible resource for technique and method, but also design considerations.  Before I read that book, I thought of a wooden spoon as an object with a straight handle behind a flat oval.  Wille opened my eyes to the sculptural potential in household objects like spoons and bowls.  Objects that are a pleasure to look upon, hold, and use.

I’ve been carving some more spoons recently, and those ideas still guide the way I work.  Here’s one example recently finished that I think reflects Wille’s influence.

Back in 1982, long before my spooncarving introduction, Wille taught a spooncarving workshop at Country Workshops.  Drew Langsner informed me today that during that event, Rick Mastelli filmed Wille carving a spoon from start to finish.  The video was just posted to youtube yesterday, and it’s a must-see:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWeB_kFcZ34

I’ve already decided to pay tribute to Wille at Greenwood Fest 2018 by wearing the same outfit he wears in the video.

IMG_4935And before I leave the subject of carving books, I’ve got to suggest another great one, just published.  Carving the Acanthus Leaf by Mary May is a spectacular book.  I was captivated by the story of Mary May’s childhood and inspirational journey into woodcarving.  It is interwoven into an incredibly well-researched exploration of the acanthus leaf and its interpretation across many cultures.  Along with general advice on the selection of carving tools, sharpening, and such, are step-by-step instruction s for carving many different styles of acanthus, all richly photographed along with clear plans.  Truly an incredible accomplishment that will help many carvers.

 

 

 

 

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14 Responses to Carving Books and Vintage Video

  1. Scott Thomas says:

    It’s good that you share not only your gifts and skills but those of others as well. I have Swedish Carving Techniques and dvd and Drew Langsner’s Country Woodcraft. I have a lot to learn from so many and next June will help.

    Like

  2. myronathon says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this David, it’s a real treat to watch 🙂

    cheers, myron

    On Sat, Dec 30, 2017 at 3:25 AM, David Fisher, Carving Explorations wrote:

    > Dave Fisher posted: “About a year and a half ago, at Greenwood Fest 2016, > Jögge Sundquist taught a class on carving a Swedish distaff, traditionally > used for holding flax or other fibers while spinning. As Jögge explained, > when a man proposed marriage to a woman, he carved a” >

    Like

  3. Rob says:

    Thanks for posting the link.
    Watching others working wood is a real pleasure, especially when you haven’t got their skill, as you can still learn something from it.

    Thank you for populating my inbox with inspiration and beauty in 2017.
    Best wishes for 2018.
    Rob

    Like

  4. Eric Goodson says:

    Great to see your distaf finished! Love the pattern and paint, and the painted inscription on the base seems appropriate. Reminds me of old bowls from Sweden. Really lovely work.

    Like

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Thanks, Eric. I just fitted the tenon on the bottom of the distaff into that little base, since my daughter doesn’t have a spinning wheel with a mortise. If I ever make another one, I think I’ll make it a tool holder that can be moved around among the 3/4″ holes on my workbench. The painting skill on those old Swedish bowls is incredible.

      Like

  5. cynthamum says:

    I will put those on my Christmas and Birthday list 2018. He isn’t wearing shoes… isn’t that dangerous 😉

    On Dec 29, 2017 6:25 PM, “David Fisher, Carving Explorations” wrote:

    > Dave Fisher posted: “About a year and a half ago, at Greenwood Fest 2016, > Jögge Sundquist taught a class on carving a Swedish distaff, traditionally > used for holding flax or other fibers while spinning. As Jögge explained, > when a man proposed marriage to a woman, he carved a” >

    Like

    • Dave Fisher says:

      Well, probably not the best idea to be barefoot, but a personal risk for him. A lot less risky than riding a motorcycle without a helmet. This all gets into the big question of where to draw the line. Using an axe itself is always going to present a certain amount of risk, but that won’t stop me from using one — but I will wear shoes!

      Like

  6. Alex says:

    Dave, thanks for the link to the video. Great stuff. And thanks for everything else you continue to share with us. Happy new year to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stoyan Popovich says:

    Thank you for the blog and inspiration. About the Willie outfit. Think of the splinters, Dave!
    Been waiting for Jogge’s book to be announced. A healthy and creative 2018 to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been so close to buying the Swedish Carving Techniques book several times but have not pulled the trigger. I may have to go ahead and order it as I am a big spoon carving guy. Thanks for the info.

    Like

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