Before the translation for “Slöjd in Wood” became available last year, English speakers had limited opportunities to hear Jögge Sundqvist describe his craft in his own voice.
Jögge is a generous teacher and artist. His Instagram account is full of design inspiration and glimpses of works in progress. Here are some short videos of techniques covered in the book:
1) Demonstration of carving the Fingernail Cut pattern (p. 98)
2) Hollowing out the end grain for a shrink pot (p. 81)
3) Cutting the mortise in the inner wall of a shrink pot so the bottom piece can be inserted. All done with a knife (p. 82)
4) Chip carving, shown here on a large-scale project (p. 95)
The knife grips he uses can be intimidating at first, but Jögge patiently breaks them down for the reader. These are all covered in detail, along with how to sharpen and hone your knives. See the Morakniv YouTube channel for their Swedish Knife Grip Sessions playlist for a video primer in English.
If you see only one video in the series, I recommend A Silent Session. Jögge carves a spoon blank at full speed, making design decisions on the fly and changing grips to alternate between heavy stock removal, shaping, and planing cuts. Even though I’ve taken multiple classes with him and spent many hours editing the book’s translation with him, I still marvel at the choreography between his hands, the knife and the material.
His work goes beyond woodenware and small decorative objects. He is also known for furniture and sculptures, including public displays. His latest blog post shows the process from timber to finished doorway for a theater in Sweden. If your browser doesn’t prompt you for a translation, try right clicking on the page.
He routinely creates scale models for his larger furniture and sculpture pieces. Examples: the theater doorway vs. its model, merry-go-round in progress vs. its model, playground sculpture vs. its model.
The techniques described in “Slöjd in Wood” include everything you need to know to carve small-scale sculptures. Carving sculptures and figures out of basswood for my young nieces and nephews now actually seems achievable. No fairy garden is safe!
He has done extensive research into 15th– and 16th-century vernacular furniture and woodworking techniques. Here are links to short videos showing him using traditional knowledge in his current work:
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Jögge is currently a judge on a Swedish craft competition show, “Mästerskaparna,” in the format of “The Great British Bake-off.” The series isn’t available to view in the United States, but you can watch the trailer on the SVT 1 website. Jögge appears briefly throughout, including all the hand modeling for carving a spoon and even a few seconds of slow-motion axe work. We’ve all taken a fast-paced project class and blown a major component of the piece. The trailer proves this is a global phenomenon.
For an excerpt from the book, see the Lost Art Press shop listing.
For instructional DVDs, see Taunton’s “Carving Swedish Woodenware” or Lie-Nielsen’s “The Slöjd Tradition.”
His directing and editing skills are on display in the documentary he made about his father, Wille Sundqvist, called “The Spoon, The Bowl, and The Knife.”
— Heather Barthell
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