Slöjd | Not Uncrafty
Making is Thinking
By: Bill Watters
Slöjd is derived from the stem slög, meaning ingenious, clever, and artful. Swedish woodworker Jögge Sundqvist has an expression from his home county, Västerbotten, is to say Int’ oslög, “not uncrafty.” Referring to one who is handy and practical.
Slöjd is a way to self-sustain the household or farm before industrialization. Knowledge of material, use of tools, form, and composition has been passed down through centuries in Swedish culture to make strong and useful objects. There is a powerful interaction between mind, hand, and soul, as both producer and consumer.
Slöjd develops within a tradition:
– With responsibility and control for production from maker to the user
– With hand tools and intuitive skills
– With natural slöjd materials
– With resource efficiency through recycling
– With personal expression
Jögge builds a room that describes his creative freedom. One wall being a material wall. The form follows fibers. He has a dialogue with his materials that shape and strengthen his objects. Wall two is the tool wall that is composed of simple edge tools that shape natural materials. Techniques are also a part of this wall, safely and efficiently controlling the tools to create smooth surfaces and strong joinery. Wall three is tradition, connected to generations of family that took the time and cared to make objects that could be lasting and useful. The last wall is the folk art wall. The wall depicts the story of people, their love, the communication between people, art, tradition, and the design of useful objects.
Benefits of working in Slöjd:
– Making things yourself. To be both maker and user
– Developing dexterity
– Investigating the quality of wood joinery
– Owning an object made by hand with care
– Experiencing contemplative simplicity. Peace and quiet.
– Searching for authentic expression. Folk art.
– Listening to stories behind the tradition; the individuals, their troubled as well as their bliss.
– Gaining respect for history.