A little over 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau visited the Maine woods to learn from nature and the Penobscot tribe, including his Penobscot guide, Joe Polis. A week and a half ago, I also journeyed to the Maine woods and joined a tribe of carving enthusiasts who had traveled from Texas, Japan, and many places in between. The guide was the Swede Jogge Sundquist, assisted by a man from Thoreau’s neck of the woods, Peter Follansbee. Our piece of the Maine woods was situated behind Lie-Nielsen Toolworks.
I’ve been relatively physically isolated in my woodcarving pursuits, but this trip showed me the benefits of getting out there. Jogge has many years of experience studying traditional Swedish handcrafts and incredible skill with a knife. A visit to his website is a colorful feast for the eyes and truly inspiring (there’s an “English” button at the top). The opportunity to listen to him, talk with him, and watch him work was a special one indeed. Plus he’s a nice guy with a great sense of humor.
Peter and Jogge made a fantastic team throughout the weekend. There were so many others I enjoyed talking with as well. And Deneb, Chris, and the whole Lie-Nielsen crew are first-class.
Carving, learning, laughing, and sharing — and some birds! What a pleasure to get together with folks from diverse backgrounds with a common passion. Twenty guys having a blast making chips under the trees. With so much going on, I did snap a couple photos that inspired these two sketches.
Thoreau was captivated by Maine, making three great journeys through it’s woods. I’m looking forward to a return one day as well.
What a grand time that must have been!!! You guys should have had a fiddler along.
That would have been perfect! Especially a carving fiddler such as yourself!
Dave, your posts are exceptional. thank you for what you do. i assume this will all be in your book one day.
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Thanks, Bob. I’m thinking pop-up book.
Fabulous post and sketches of the trip. I canoed a similar route to Thoreau’s. The Allagash is the grandest river in the northeast.
Wish I could have been to Lie Nielsen as well. My wallet is grateful I am still in Alaska. As a trip to the holy grail of tool manufacturing could be costly. Keep up the good work David!
Oh! Timber frame raising on Oct 10 in Cambridge Springs, Pa. I believe I shared David Yasenchaks website with you at our spoon carving session. Cheers- Adam Peterson
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Adam, It is hard to hold on to your wallet there. And when you get a feel for how they run their company, you feel good about where the money is going.
It truly was a wonderful time. Being outside all together in a circle folded in a Bill Coperthwaite slöyd quality to our gathering. Your sketches bring another view and deeper meaning to it all.
Thanks, Peter. I enjoyed seeing the photos from Dickinson’s Reach on Follansbee’s blog. Wonderful that you were all able to share some time there together.
Great sketches, David. I think you captured them well. Thanks for posting them.
I also enjoyed immensly the chance to be with Jogge and Peter and many others, with lessons on 10 carving grasps, sharpening, ‘4 walls of a workshop’, butter knives and Swedish distaffs (that was a surprise!). His 4 Walls talk (‘Materials’, ‘Tools and Techniques’, ‘Tradition’ and ‘Folk Art’ has given me a lot to think about.
I admired your campsight and tents – but was glad to be tucked away in a B&B with my wife!! And you had the pond to swim in!!
I read through Thoreau’s ‘Walking’ during my days in Maine and loved it. Someone had commented it was one of his best pieces of writing, and I was glad to give it a read… http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1862/06/walking/304674/
I will look forward to another post or two from you on the days with Jogge as you digest it more…
There is certainly much more to digest, Geoff. My brain takes awhile to chew on things, but I’ll get there. Thoreau’s “Walking” is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing the link. B&B sounds good, but then you can’t watch a bald eagle eat a squirrel while you wash your hair!