A Success Story

I thought you would appreciate an update on the Wille Sundqvist Movie project. They received an amazing response for their Kickstarter campaign to help raise money to fund their production of the movie to capture Wille’s woodworking genius.

Peter wrote a bit more about his connection to Wille and his road to being the pre-eminant 17th Century Joiner in the modern world. It includes a photo taken at the beginning of that journey … what a bunch of manly men…reminds me from where my hippie roots were so happily planted.

I’ve still got to resist the urge to pick up an axe rather than these tiny brushes as the Granary Show deadline lurches ever closer…but soon…very soon…I’ll get a spoon carving break and my blood pressure will slow accordingly.

From Peter…

I got a note back from Jogge Sundqvist the other day, when I wrote to congratulate him on the immediate success of the kickstarter fundraising. Here’s part of what he wrote:

“YES.

This is just overwhelming!

I haven´t in my deepest imagination ever thought that we should reach the goal so quickly. Within 24 hrs…

This is so helpful, not just the money, it also strengthens everyone involved in self-confidence and trust in the movie to be something really good.

And everyone involved in the film is full of humility and wonder at the response we’ve had to make the film about Wille.

We have a little way to go before our actual budget… I hope you still want to continue to spread the word about the film, every little contribution is incredibly valuable to make a film of high artistic quality and with a clear content.

Hi 5. he, he”

So if you are inclined, there’s still plenty of time to donate to this project. Here’s the kickstarter link,  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/761142325/the-spoon-the-bowl-and-the-knife-craftsman-wille-s?ref=recently_launched   or if you prefer, you can send a check to Drew.

Make it out to:

Country Workshops – Sundqvist video project

990 Black Pine Ridge Road

Marshall, NC 28753

 

BUT – you might ask:  What’s all the fuss about Wille Sundqvist and some wooden spoons? Ha! You’d be amazed.

Wille Sundqvist spoon

Wille Sundqvist spoon

As the years keep ticking by, I often think about connections and chronologies. May times people will think about events in their lives, and how one simple happening might turn your life this direction or that…and I think that without Wille, I might not be a joiner/woodworker today. Certainly not a spoon carver. And yet we barely know each other…

I first heard of Wille of course from Drew Langsner, whom I met in 1980. That was the start of my woodworking career, although you wouldn’t have seen it coming then! I have often told the story of how I got to Drew’s Country Workshops to learn traditional woodworking. I was a mainstay there in the 2nd half of the 1980s and early 1990s (til I got a job…).

But how did Country Workshops begin? Drew has told me and many others the story many times, and a while back wrote it down in one of the Country Workshops e-newsletters. http://www.countryworkshops.org/newsletter31/ (scroll down to “CW History” – and if you haven’t yet, you can sign up for their free newsletter. It always has good stuff in it, besides update on classes and tools, etc.)

The gist of it is that Bill Coperthwaite brought Wille Sundqvist to meet Drew & Louise in 1976 or 77. Drew had a couple days’ worth of lessons from Wille, and was wanting more. Thus the idea of inviting him to come teach a workshop, which led to the Langsners hosting woodworking classes ever since.

Drew included Wille in his first woodworking how-to book, Country Woodcraft, in 1978. That’s where I first saw/heard of Wille.

Wille Sundqvist 1978

Wille Sundqvist 1978

Then as I became a regular student at Country Workshops, I often heard stories of Wille’s craft and his  teaching, and also saw examples of his work. As it turned out, I met his son Jogge first, in 1988. Then a few years later I was able to attend one of Wille’s classes.

willie's class PF JA etc

Here is a quote from Wille’s book, Swedish Carving Techniques (Taunton Press, 1990):

“Carving something with a knife or an ax is a very tangible way to get a sense of design. Because the object being made doesn’t have to be secured in any way, it’s easy to move it to different positions and see its lines and shape grow out of the blank. A three-dimensional object isn’t just a picture. It’s an infinite number of pictures, and all of the pictures must find harmony within the object. The lines of the object must compose one unit, congruent from whatever direction it is seen. Carving teaches design.”

And that is really a big part of it. Wille’s spoons are very deceptive. Unlike any furniture work I do, these are subtractive woodworking – you’re cutting wood away & leaving just the right bits. You hope. Each cut means something. There’s so many layers to what Wille teaches – the postures, the tools, the design. You learn about wood and how it grows; and its strengths and weaknesses. Also about the tools, the edge and how it slices. If you have ever seen me use a hatchet, that work comes to me from Wille, some of it directly and much of it through Drew & Jogge.

To me, the spoon carving is a revolutionary act. It helps cut through the mass-produced cheap culture that we have absorbed like zombies. Such a simple household implement, taken to extraordinary heights. Why shouldn’t our most basic kitchen stuff be beautiful? Out with plastic! Think about Coperthwaite and his quote “I want to live in a world where people are intoxicated with the joy of making things.” 

The kickstarter campaign runs for 4o more days and at this writing is over $7,000. That’s not counting whatever got donated directly to Drew or Jogge. Thanks to everyone from here who helped. If you’re inclined, please spread the word. 

More links to some related material: 

http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-did-i-get-started-country-workshops-the-langsners-is-how/

http://www.countryworkshops.org/newsletter11/wille.html

http://www.surolle.se/

http://www.herondance.org/reflections/bill-coperthwaite/


The God of Spoons

Spoon Carvers Tea

I went searching on my website for the pic of this painting to use in today’s blog post and discovered that it had never been added to my portfolio. So I guess I was meant to read Peter’s Blog today, as I do most days actually. I need to be painting…NEED to be painting…but I wanted to quickly let you all know of a kickstarter campaign that he mentioned on his blog and it’s all about… Spoons !

Peter learned spooncarving from Wille, I learned spooncarving from Peter, and carving spoons is just about the most fun a person can have. So they want to make a movie about Wille, who is a national treasure in his home country of Sweden. And they need some money to do this and do this now as Wille is getting on in years. Basically you are pre-ordering the dvd and, as with all kickstarter campaigns, you don’t get charged unless they make their goal.

Here’s a pic for his AAC Feb 2011 magazine article which John O’Hern took of me carving a spoon on the studio porch…

spooncarving72

And one of Peter a few years back carving a spoon on the log cabin porch…spoon-carver

So for all my woodworking pals out there…

Since it looks like Peter’s day is as chock full as mine I stole the following right off of his site rather than put it in my own words so you can read below…

and, even though I’m going to have to fight the overwhelming temptation to pick up a chunk of cherry and a knife… now I’ll get back to the easel.

From Peter…

There is now a kickstarter fundraising site set up to help get the film about Wille Sundqvist underway. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/761142325/the-spoon-the-bowl-and-the-knife-craftsman-wille-s?ref=recently_launched

 

 

I’m in a rush right now (clean up shavings in the kitchen from last night’s spoons, help get the kids off to school, me to work, etc) – so I will write at length about this later. But let’s get it together to raise this money pronto. Shouldn’t be hard. When you get to watch this video, you will be amazed. Here’s a snippet from the kickstarter blurb

“The biggest risk this project is that Wille Sundqvist is 87 years old. He is getting tired of age but still he is working with craft everyday. Last week when I talked to Wille he said he was in good shape and that he was eager to start with recording the film in June. He told me he is refusing all orders just to make bowls and spoons for the most generous donors. This tells us how he looks upon his own status. But of course everything can happen with a man at his age.”

If you are leery of using kickstarter, you can send a check to Drew Langsner.

Make it out to:

Country Workshops – Sundqvist video project

990 Black Pine Ridge Road

Marshall, NC 28753