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Blog

Sweden! A Long Way from Home

jarrod dahl

I may have hinted at this earlier but in the spring I was invited to participate in a Skedfest that was held in Nyköping at the Sörmlands Museum in Sweden. I was asked to teach a few short workshops and give a few lectures. I write on that a little later.

I left home last week and after a nice visit with my friend Paul and his family in the Twin Cities and a 12-14 hours in planes and airports I landed at Arlanda airport outside of Stockholm. The flight went pretty smooth although I rarely sleep on those planes. It's a good thing they have all those movies to watch, 8 hours on a tiny plane is a long time. Waking up over Norway and the sunrise was pretty cool.

Below is Norway

At Arlanda, I met up with my friend and professional spoon carver, Barn the Spoon and a new friend Dave (sorry Dave I forgot your last name) It was good to see Barn as I didn't get to Spoonfest in the UK this year. A little of the back story, Barn and Robin Wood started the first and largest international spoon carving event in the world Spoonfest. I met Barn and Robin two years ago when I attended the first event. Last year I shared Robin's Guest house with Barn and Fred Livesay, another American spooncarver and craft instructor. I got to know Barn fairly well on that visit, staying up late into the evenings talking craft and spoons. We caught a bus to Stockholm and then a train to Nyköping. We got into the thick of it right away....spoons, the future of traditional craft and wooden spoons. We covered all sorts of stuff relating to the business side of things, marketing, demographics, market stimulation, selling, etc...An area where I think most inspiring craft makers fall short. Good stuff. Things are brewing....

Helena Åberg, a craft consultant and the leading organizer of Skedfest met us at the train station in Nyköping.  I had met Helena last year at Täljfest at Sätergläntan, she did immense research and wrote dissertation/thesis on splitting wood for bent wood chests and boxes and their production in Sweden. We had arranged a short visit to the Museums Archive storehouse to look at the wood and bark goodies.  It was not enough time to see everything but well worth it. We got to see some spoons, a few bowls, baskets, turned boxes and some really nice tools tools. Tack så mycket Helena!

Helena, Barn and Dave looking through the collection

nice turned lidded boxes

a collection from an old production birch bark box shop

There are new thoughts creeping into my mind...ideas...reflections...about craft, handwork, craftsmanship, production methodology, my very young county, my heritage as an American but also as a descendant of immigrants and really good food.

I've included a lot of links in this one. Check them ALL out. There is a very important story that I will try to tie together.

I'll write more on Skedfest, Sweden, food and craft and some new ideas in a day or two. I want to collect my thoughts a bit more.