In my lectures at both Spoonfest and Täljfest, I referred to an excerpt from Mary Oliver’s poem Sometimes:
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
Astonishment comes easy at Sätergläntan, the traditional crafts school in Insjön, Sweden and home to Täljfest 2019. The school offers open week-long classes in the summer while being dedicated to full time students the rest of the year. The students have quite a setting!
After the train ride through the Swedish countryside, I had come to expect the red and white paint on the buildings. Some of them are new, but many are old cabins that have been moved to the location over the years.
This log building sits on a hillside overlooking the forested valley.
The view from the other side of the window shows the sheep whose fleece is used by the textile craft students at Sätergläntan.
Frederik kicked things off. I was able to snap a photo, but I missed more photos than I got. Not a single photo of Jögge Sundqvist or many other people that were a central part of the event. No photos of the incredible food served up for every meal by the talented staff. No photos of my first Scandinavian sauna. Here are some more of what I did get, and there are plenty more floating around out there on the net, I suppose.
The carvers in my classes were ready to roll. Thanks to the volunteers, current and former Sätergläntan students, all of the preliminary work to prepare the blanks was done ahead of time so that the students could jump right in and make the most of the three hours.
Although we spent a little time at the chopping blocks, most of the work was done in the Sätergläntan woodshop at workbenches. The focus was on understanding basic design principles and techniques.
It was an international bunch of carvers with a lot of experience, skill, and humor. Craft is a universal language. In the middle in the photo below is Julia Kalthoff who makes a great carving axe. She had them on hand at the festival to try.
Every time you turn your head at Sätergläntan, you find inspirational pieces that are used there like this lidded bowl,
and these two beauties by Bengt Lidstrom that have been in use for a couple decades:
The visiting instructors brought some of their work. Just one example is this small sampling of pieces by Anja Sundberg.
And the work brought by the festival attendees was incredibly inspiring as well. How about this shrink pot by Per Norén!
Amazing baskets and tool holders of all sorts were everywhere. I loved this one of split pine. I think it was Ulrika Eckardt’s.
Hiking trails surround the school, flanked by wild blueberries and spectacular views.
Evenings were time for free carving and fun and games. We had a spirited game of Kubb going. Some of you might recognize world traveler Brad van Luyt from Australia up there on the left in the green jacket. He was an ace.
The Kubb King of the Täljfest! Long live the king!
The King is dead.
Swedish pancakes. They have carrots in them, but they’re still good. Who knew?
Before taking the train to Sätergläntan, Noah and I were able to spend a couple days in Stockholm. I think that’s the City Hall building above.
The city, made up of a number of islands, was beautiful and vibrant. This is a shot of the Old Town area, right beside the Nobel Prize Museum.
We visited the Nordic Museum.
In one room, this rocking bird made by Bengt Lidstrom was there offering children a ride.
This windmill was at Skansen, an open air museum full of authentic old buildings and artifacts.
The walk along the waterfront to the museums is pretty nice as well.
In the closing ceremony of Täljfest , Jögge summed up the excitement and good feelings that were shared by all, then we sang a delightful song about little frogs and danced. Täljfest only happens every three years, so you’ve got time to make your plans for 2022!