January 2010 NEWSLETTER


1988 video shoot at CW.

Early Wille Sundqvist class (1982).
Jögge and class members harvesting spoon wood.

Wille Sundqvist demonstrates one of his many knife grasps.

Country Workshops has been offering courses in Swedish sloyd craft since 1978, when we first invited Wille Sundqvist to teach two 5-day courses in carving spoons and bowls the way it has been done in Scandinavia for countless generations. In those early years we worked in a primative shop, but we always had first rate tools on hand and the best teachers. Back then, very few Americans knew about sloyd or Scandinavian treenware, so it was always a challenge to explain the course and then get class participants.

Jögge Sundqvist spoon.

In the mid-80s Wille's son Jögge also began to teach this course. In 1988 Taunton Press sent a video crew to Country Workshops to record their classic video with Jögge, "Carving Swedish Woodenware." (The VHS is no longer available. But here's a sneak peak - a DVD release is in the works. We'll let you know when it's available.)

Jögge looks over a bowl blank.

Over the following years Jögge has developed

his technical skills and personal perspective of craft and art. Besides his shop production, he teaches often and has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Scandinavia. We were super-pleased when Jögge accepted an invitation to teach another course at Country Workshops this summer. A sort-of problem though developed -- this course filled up by word on the sloyd grapevine even before our 2010 catalog was printed.

The good news ... We are announcing a second week with Jögge for this summer. The new course is:

September 6-11

This workshop will be very similar to the August 23-28 course. In planning the week we decided to focus on two classic sloyd projects - carving spoons and bowls. Spoon carving will emphasize design and the different grasps in knife work, and engraved surface decoration - one of Jogge's special skills. Projects can range from small teaspoons to large serving ladles. Bowl carving will include the up-side-down bark up orientation (the Bengt Lidstrom innovation) and an option for advanced bowl makers - carving an "ale goose." Adze work and hewing with carving axes will be emphasized. We will have several versions of our innovative "bowl dogs" available for use. Surface decoration and painting will be included. We will also have 3 new styles of Gransfors Bruks carving axes available for use. (Our tests of the prototypes will be reported on in a forthcoming e-newsletter. We expect to offer these and some of the older Gransfors models in the near future.)

This is an intermediate and advanced level course. Drew Langsner's bowl and spoon carving tutorials are the recommended prerequisite.

Tuition for the 6-day summer workshop is $1075. This includes materials, accommodations, meals and use of specialized tools. Click here for more info.

Airport meeting on Halloween (Atsushi Ono, Drew Langsner, Hajime Hoshino, Masashi Kutsuwa)

Photos by Masashi Kutsuwa

Those who have looked at Drew's 2008 Japan diary already know about the ladderback chairmaking class that Drew taught for the new Japan Green Woodworkers Association. One outcome of the course was this year's Japan tour, with Masashi Kutsuwa and Osamu Shoji as tour guides. Osamu Shoji, who is possibly the best known woodworking teacher in Japan, is also our guest teacher for this summer's course in Japanese Woodworking. Yet another outcome of the class in Japan was that several woodworkers wanted to take a follow-up course here at Country Workshops.

Bending Windsor bows.

Norboru and Hajime finishing their seats.

Atsushi testing Curtis Buchanan chairs.

For the November 2-6 American Windsor tutorial we hosted 4 guys from Japan. Hajime Hoshino (a retired accountant) is a graduate of the 2-year woodworking program at Gifu Academy of Forest Science and Culture. Noboru Sato (another retired accountant!) is a second year woodworking student at Gifu Academy. Atsushi Ono is the new Director of the Japan Green Woodworking Association. (Atsushi was particularly interested in how we run Country Workshops.) Masashi Kutsuwa -- one of the teachers at Gifu Academy -- came as the group's translator. The fourth student in the class was Bill Harvey, from Charlotte, NC.

Atsushi experiences an American classic.

3 Windsors for Japan.

After some planning, the class became the centerpiece of a micro-craft tour of our area. The guys got into Asheville after some flight delays late Saturday night, on Halloween. First stop was a pizza place, with local beer (a great hit). There was no chance to see where we live during the 65 mile drive back to CW in full darkness. Sunday morning we drove back to Asheville, on the scenic river route. Our first stop was a wonderful visit with chairmaker Brian Boggs. Later, after a burger lunch at The Universal Joint (with more local brew) we visited Asheville Hardware to look at their selection of woodworking tools.

The class, as usual, ran Monday - Friday. There was some concern that taking time for translating would put us behind schedule. But everyone in this group worked extra hard, even getting back in the workshop before breakfast on most days. By Friday afternoon the chairs were not assembled, but the parts were dry fitted. This way, we were able to put all of the components into reasonably sized cardboard boxes that could be checked as luggage back to Japan.

On the Friday evening that the class was over we attended a wine tasting and potluck supper at the Weinhaus, our favorite purveyor in Asheville. Saturday morning we drove out to Fairview to visit furniture maker Marilyn MacEwen. Marilyn was on our first Japan tour in 2003. She taught our Woodworking for Women course for many years. Next we went to one of Asheville's state run distilled beverage stores where the guys stocked up on Jack Daniels sour mash to take home. We also took a run through a Lowe's building center and a Walmart. Drew wanted the guys to have some real American experiences.

We had another great visit on Sunday, at Windsor chairmaker Curtis Buchanan's home and workshop in Jonesboro, TN. Curtis had an extensive selection of traditional Windsors and his innovative contemporary designs to show us. And Marilyn Buchanan served a delicious quiche lunch. This was followed by a visit to the Woodcraft franchise store in Johnson City, another hit.

Our Farewell Supper Sunday evening was a time to test the Jack Daniels, along with some special desert cheeses. Hajimi Hoshino told us that this was his best vacation ever. "I plan to come back every year." And right then he registered for the March "Carving Bowls and Spoons" tutorial. We had an easy drive to the Asheville airport on Monday morning.

Winter Tutorials
Winter 2010 tutorials are now filling in. These woodworking courses are limited to 4 students. Drew Langsner is the instructor. Tutorial tuition includes materials, a private room, our famous meals prepared by Louise Langsner, and use of specialized tools. Enrollment can be by phone (828 656 2280) or e-mail. The deposit is $350 with the balance due 4 weeks before each session begins. Other details, including our cancellation policy, are on the Country Workshops web site.

February 8-12: Carving Bowls and Spoons - The Scandinavian tradition. - Full
February 22-26: Rustic Windsor Chairmaking - Low-back or high-back. - 1 opening
March 8-12: Hearth Chair - This is Drew’s design for an all wood loafing chair. - 1 opening
March 22-26: Carving Bowls and Spoons - The Scandinavian tradition.
- Full

Spring Weekend Workshops
As always, materials, lodging and delicious meals are included in the tuition. Specialty tools are also provided. Like our tutorials, these weekend courses are limited to 4 class participants. The deposit is $150.

April 17-18: Windsor Stool – Drew's design with a Carved Seat and T-stretchers
May 15-16*: Willow Basketry – Louise Langsner is the instructor

*Contact us to ask about other dates for this weekend workshop.
June 5-6: Bowl Carving – The Scandinavian Tradition with updates

Summer Workshops with Guest Instructors

June 14-25: Ladderback Chairmaking – The Deluxe Edition (with Drew Langsner)
July 12-17: Post-and-Rung Rocking Chair (Tom Donahey)
July 26-31: Coopering – with Wooden Hooping (Carl Swensson)
August 9-14: Japanese Woodworking – Make an Andon Lamp (Osamu Shoji)
August 23-28: Swedish Sloyd Craft (Jögge Sundqvist)
- Full

September 6-11: Sloyd Craft - Knife Grasps & Axe Work (Jögge Sundqvist) - Open

Fall Tutorial with Drew Langsner

December 6-10: Carving Bowls and Spoons - The Scandinavian tradition.


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Phone: 828 656 2280 (9 AM to 6 PM, Eastern time, any day)
Address: 990 Black Pine Ridge Rd.; Marshall, North Carolina 28753