MARCH - APRIL 2014 E-NEWSLETTER
Class Calendar Update
2013 was our 36th year teaching courses with guest instructors – coming to Country Workshops from around the US, Sweden and Japan. We have now shifted to offering tutorials year around. This is a smaller format based on our successful fall and winter tutorials where classes are limited to four students. Class members will benefit with this smaller group size. And we can hold tutorials in the heated part of the workshop year round. (Tutorials may also include an intern or other guest student.) Drew Langsner is the instructor.
At Country Workshops there are no hidden fees for registration or your materials. Tuition also includes lodging in a private room. Specialized tools are provided for all courses. (Students are requested to bring more common woodworking tools.) This is an excellent opportunity to see and try the tools available from our CW Store. Tuition also includes our well-known, garden fresh meals prepared by Louise Langsner. (You can get an idea from Louise's cooking blog at www.LouiseLangsner.wordpress.com)
Registration can be by phone (828 656 2280), e-mail, or post. The tuition deposit is $350, with the balance due 4 weeks before class. We accept personal checks, Visa/MasterCard and money orders.
Fall tutorials will be announced on our website by mid-summer. The 2014 schedule and our CW Store tools and books are detailed in our print catalog. Send us an e-mail with your name and postal address if you would like a free copy. You can also print out the catalog using a PDF link on our Web site.
Erik Buchakian Reviews
"Carving is continuous designing" is a simple but profound observation made by Wille Sundqvist in the recently released documentary "The Spoon, the Bowl and the Knife". The program is a biographical portrait and living tribute produced and narrated by Wille's son, craftsman Jögge Sundqvist.
Almost everyone with an interest in traditional Scandinavian woodworking will be familiar with Wille Sundqvist from his book "Swedish Carving Techniques". He is arguably the most influential proponent of the craft, having dedicated most of his life equally to the roles of craftsman and educator, and few spoons being carved today are completely free of Sundqvist DNA.
While not a "how to" video, the DVD includes significant content on technique as we observe Wille teaching his methods for spoon carving. As he works, the name of each carving "grasp" appears on-screen in English; these are separately documented in a PDF file that accompanies the DVD. I suspect many viewers will be unfamiliar with Wille's turning work as his book on that subject has never been published in English, so being able to observe Wille's bowl-turning technique is a special treat.
What the film does most effectively and satisfyingly, however, is to provide context - the context of Wille's upbringing in northern Sweden, the environment of his home and shop, his experiences and role in the Swedish handcraft movement, and his own personal history, motivations, and influences. It's that context that gives importance to the technique and elevates Wille's story into something truly captivating and inspiring.
Lars Laursen, one of Wille's former apprentices, once told me that he learned as much about being a craftsman from eating breakfast with Wille, as he did from the time they spent together in the shop. The meaning of that statement is obvious to anyone who has met the man - "craftsman" doesn't refer to what he does, but what he is. "The Knife, the Spoon, and the Bowl" lets us all have a seat at the breakfast table.
The DVD has a runtime of 72 minutes, and is available in both English (with English narration and subtitles) and Swedish versions.
Erik Buchakian (Narrowsburg, NY) has been interested in traditional Scandinavian handcrafts for many years. Besides spoon carving, Erik tries to find time for bicycle racing and some judo. He is a Country Workshops board member.
Dan Musick’s Notes from
Carving Bowls and Spoons
Dan Musick attended our March 24-28 tutorial “Carving Bowls and Spoons.” About 2 weeks later he e-mailed us his beautiful and inspiring class notes. Dan is a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, NY.
Anyone who rives wood (for chair parts, basketry, tool handles, etc) knows that the basic rule is to split the stock into halves. When you do this there is roughly equal force on both sides of the split, so the split should run straight down the middle of the material, following the fibers. (In some cases off-center splits are made when you want to remove waste while ensuring that the saved piece will retain it’s dimensions. Also, splits off of the edge of a bolt can be done with certain wood species.)
THE BUTTER KNIFE PROJECT
Butter knives, which are also called spreaders, are carved wooden utensils that can add a special hand-made touch to any table setting. Making a spreader shouldn’t be difficult, but designing one that functions well and has a personal, artistic signature is a challenge. They can also be an excellent gift, or a comfortably priced hand-carved item to sell.
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