Erik and I have been invited to participate at the Norsk Høstfest in Minot, North Dakota on September 26-29. The festival was founded in 1978 as a way to celebrate Nordic heritage, and has grown in North America's largest Scandinavian festival with tens of thousands of people visiting from all over the world. Norst Høstfest features a number fo Nordic exhibits with internationally recognized artisans, craftpersons and chefs participating. During the festival, we will be demonstrating spoon carving and axing, as well as selling our spoons. We are looking forward to being apart of this big event.
In July we had two classes, our Kids Crew Carving Camp and Crop Art Class. The Kids Crew Caving Camp was a four day camp for kids going into the 5th grade and older. They learned about different knife grips and carving techniques. We had a great time teaching the class and look forward to the next one.
The Saturday after the Kids Crew, guest instructor Liz Schrieber taught a Crop Art Class. All of the students who attended aspire to compete in the MN State Fair. So keep an eye out for their work in the Horticulture Building this fall.
We also have an Intro to Spoon Carving Class coming up on Thursday August 9th from 6-9:00pm and a Two Day Spoon Carving Class on Friday September 7&8th. The Two Day Spoon Carving Class is for beginners as well as students who have taken our Intro Class as it is a slower paced, more in depth class that goes over axing out a spoon as well as spoon design.
I spent two and a half days learing how to carve a Brittany style Party Spoon. These spoons were used mostly on special ocassions, most likely when there was a marriage in town as early as 1850’s. Multiple couples would get married at once, so thousands of folks would arrive together for the ocassion, as wedding parties back then lasted three days. Many of the spoons were also foldable, as well as very ornate to celebrate in the party.
Currently this particular kind of spoon now only has about three known makers in France. There are no records on who the original carvers of these spoons were, but based on the many photos Jane shared with us, it is obvious that many of the spoons had a particular style to them, and that one person probably made many spoons at a time. As far as she knows, there were no guilds in France to keep the trade a secret. So it’s kind of a mystry why and how this tradition faded away. FEAR NOT... Jane has not only figured out how to carve these spoons, and how to inlay the wax all on her own by trial and error, but she also figured out how to make a folding spoon. On her own. With no instruction. Not only are Janes spoons amazing, so is her brain.
For our part of Minneapolis the true mark of spring’s end is Art-A-Whirl weekend. One of the largest art crawls in the US, Art-A-Whirl sprawls over the weekend of May 18th, 19th and 20th and 3 square miles of Northeast Minneapolis. Our cozy studio is a bit off the beaten path but we are doing out best to bring the festivities to our block. We’ve invited 16 artists to share our space and show off their work.
Starting Friday May 18th at 5:00 we will open our studio, AirBnB and back yard to the public. You will have a chance to meet the artists, check out the gallery in apartment above the studio and watch demonstrations on axe carving and bowl turning in the back yard area. Kids sewing activities and face painting will also be happening. We are excited to bring visitors to our part of NE Minneapolis and carry on the Art-A-Whirl tradition.
Friday May 18th, 5:00-10:00 pm
Saturday May 19th, noon-8:00 pm
Sunday May 20th, noon-5:00 pm
There will be plenty of free parking in front of our studio on Johnson St NE, 28th & 29th Ave NE.
Have you ever wondered how to enter a piece of crop art into the State Fair?? Well here's your chance to learn how to do so. Guest instructor and ribbon winner Liz Schreiber will be in our studio Saturday April 14th to guide you on your own piece of crop art. We are super excited to have Liz in our studio sharing her secrets to success. Tickets to this class are limited, and available in our online shop on the SHOP page.
As the snow melts (finally) it is a gentle reminder that the biggest event of the year, Art-A-Whirl is right around the corner. May 18,19 & 20th is when all of North East Minneapolis opens its studio doors to the public. Also, one of the biggest art crawls in America. This year we are showing our work along with 10 or more artist/makers in our building. Because our building is outside the "arts district" and up the hill on Johnson Street NE, it makes our space a bit unique, as we are out of the hustle and bustle of lower North East Mpls.
We will have the front door to our apartment open for you to enter the upstairs where our showcase apartment will have all the artist/makers work on display to give you an idea of how you can display pieces in your own home. Down stairs in our studio, we'll have spoon carving demonstrations and more selections of the artists works. Outside there will be axing demonstrations, and plenty of room in our back garden area for a bonfire. So if you like to keep your Art-A-Whirl weekend a bit more chill, this is the place to be.
We look forward to sharing our space with you.
We are very excited to have guest instructor Lisa Taglia at our studio to teach a mending class inspired by Japanese boro. A generic translation of boro means "too good to waste", and dates back to the nineteenth century and into the twentieth when the Japanese rural poor only had access to homespun cloth made from hemp and flax, and also limited to only a few colors of dye, indigo, grey, brown and black. Said farmers would be involved in planting, taking care of, and harvesting the planets that would then be turned into fibers for fabric, and dyes. There were no trips to the store to get new clothes for the kids when the weather turned cold, you imagine, every piece of fabric was very valuable, and used as clothes, until it could no longer be worn, then turned into futon covers and floor rugs and passed on through many generations. A stark difference to the disposable lifestyle we have become accustomed to today.
That said, bring in your favorite pair of jeans, a shirt, or whatever you've been meaning to mend, and Lisa will teach you how to mend it . This class is for all learning levels, and will be held on Earth Day, April 22nd from 9:00-12:00 pm. Keep your favorite clothes alive a few more years, it'll make you happy, and the earth happy too.
It’s nice to have something fun to look forward to when Old Man Winter has been an unwelcome guest for far too long. Yesterday I registered our family for the Milan Spoon Gathering in Milan MN. We are looking forward to this annual event in the midst of spring. A long weekend of sitting next to about 200 carvers of all different skill levels from all over the USA and from across the pond, is definitely something to look forward to. The spoon carving event happens May 31-June 2. We hope to see some of you local carvers over there this spring.
If you’d like to attend a spoon carving class to work on specific skills, you can make it s a five day affair. which is what I’m doing. I’ll be headed out a few days before my family to take a spoon carving class with Jane Mickelborough from Brittany, France. This is a wonderful opportunity to take class with a wildly talented woman, and my first course that is instructed by a woman, which also makes me very happy.... and a spoon carving class so close to home!
This past weekend we went to the American Swedish Institute to participate in the opening of Craft BOWL. The installation runs through April, and I highly recommend you go see it. Friday night there was a show with Jögge Sundqvist telling his story while making a shrink box. It was an amazing multi media show with music, images and carving! Jögge is a green wood carver and folk artist working in the “slöyd” craft tradition of Scandinavia. He is a skilled craftsman steeped in traditional methods as well as a thoughtful and innovative artist. A great show and a chance to talk to a lot of carvers and crafters in attendance we haven’t seen in a while. All in all an excellent night.