Newsletter / March 2015

This month’s theme is “Being an Artisan” and except for an invitation to Sätergläntan’s Information Day 13 April about our full-time education programme Arts and Crafts – Form and Culture, we also asked a few of our alumni and lecturers… “What is an artisan”? 

If you are unable to make it to our Information Day 13 April, see our Film about Sätergläntan! Click below to take a look.
© 2015 Björnfilm Sweden, Music: Roine Sangenberg

4 “Gläntan” People about “Being an Artisan”

Elin Ivre

studied sewing at Sätergläntan 2008-2010

Why do you enjoy crafts?
Because there is so much knowledge and love in it, of course. I think crafts is genuine in a way that many other things are not today. Decisions and approaches that are made based on other values than efficiency and rationalising. Crafts are representing something different, something that we desperately need today.

What crafts do you do?
I mainly do textile crafts and then mostly sewing, preferably by hand.

What do you think of education and work experience in arts and crafts?
I think it is extremely important. Both education and practice. Both in order to have a good solid foundation that you can work from yourself but also in order to meet other people with the same interests. When you are studying it may be very intense while you may also be learning a lot in a short period of time. It is a period of indulgence! Practice is valuable in order to get a realistic view of life and and to understand the value of your own knowledge. For example, that you can’t actually work for free “just for fun”. Why would you work for free just because it is also fun?

What are you doing at the moment?
I am doing my exam collection at Beckmans College of Design. There will be a collection of six looks that will be shown at the Cultural House in Stockholm on 19 May (no entrance fee – you are all welcome!). In my exam collection I am expressing a personal framework for the symbolic value of crafts, as an extension of what I started working on at Sätergläntan. I think that it is important that you find out who you are, particularly as a fresh graduate when you enter working life.

The image is from my latest collection that was a collaboration project with the Swedish fashion brand Whyred. The collection showed at Stockholm Fashion Week in January 2015 and was picked for the competition Designers’ Nest that was held during Copenhagen Fashion Show the same month.

© Image: Ninjahanna

Ola Höglund

lectures about marketing and finance at Sätergläntan

How do you see the profession of being an artisan?
Artisans know a lot about materials, techniques and traditions and have a gift when it comes to the actual craft. In my eyes the role of being an artisan is also an alternative to the consumer society that has developed since the mid-20th century and the profession is in that way a strong and clear choice of path that deserves respect.

When you lecture in finance and branding for artisans, which questions and discussions are topical when it comes to the actual profession?
Creativity is driven by passion = you would do it regardless of whether you are being paid for it. I have heard many students saying that they are proud of what they do but in the next breath they say that “you could never be well paid for it”. Why not, I wonder.

To do something that you have chosen from the heart is beautiful. Even sensitive. Most people doing something creative know that it is hard to shift between an artistic perspective on the one hand and the business side on the other hand. The threshold for a creative soul to think in terms of brand and business is probably higher than for someone who doesn’t have an idea based on their own person. However, you still need to charge well and be smart in building your own brand even if you happen to love your job!

“Many creative professions have already moved to the digital world, graphic design and photography being just a few examples. But how will crafts, artisans and people at large relate to e.g. 3D-printing?”

What is more specific to crafts and important to pick up are the trends that will be influencing our lives, such as technological advances. Many creative professions have already moved to the digital world, graphic design and photography just to name a few. But how will crafts, artisans and people at large relate to e.g. 3D-printing? Suddenly we have a tool that will make it possible for the man in the street to churn out products even without the knowledge of the hand.

What have you learnt from working with artisans?
Crafts and artisans have been around in my life for the last 25 years. I myself am a student of the arts and have lived all my adult life with a silversmith. This means that I have an affinity with the students I meet at Sätergläntan. Inspiring and hopeful for a continued world “of people for people”.

Henrik Levay

studied blacksmithing at Sätergläntan 2004-2006

My name is Henke Levay and since 2011 I have been working full-time with hot forging and artistic blacksmithing at Smedja Levay i Ramnäs. In the forge I have a shop and I work with both selling my own items and manufacture forging on order. The spectrum of what I do is wide. Among other things, I make gates, fences, smithing for churches, tools for industry and sometimes plain artistic blacksmithing.

My interest for metal began already in high school when I was studying technical engineering specialising in sheet metal and welding. However, it wasn’t until ten years ago when I decided to go to Sätergläntan’s then two-year education programme in blacksmithing that my goal was clear. I wanted to become a blacksmith.

© Image of Henrik: Tobbe Malm

After Sätergläntan, I worked as a construction smith for while until I decided to go an work as an apprentice for one year in Finland with Rauno Lehtonen, Rautionaika. I think that the education programmes in crafts that are available today are important. They can pick up those with an interest in gaining skills to perform less “common” professions. Sandwiching theory and practice and sow a seed for future generations of artisans.

As with all crafts it is extremely important to doing practical work, and a lot of it. I think that the school gives you a good foundation for those who want to do their craft full-time. As usual, in the forge I always have a few projects going at the same time. At the moment, I am making works and products for the upcoming Konst och Kulturrunda that is happening over Easter. I have also been working with a fence with a wrought iron gate for a villa since New Year. It is a fun and challenging project that I hope to finish and mount in April.

Hyungjun Yong

studied wood at Sätergläntan 2010-2013

What is an artisan?
It is truly a blessing that he or she can create and make something very special. Those are artisans. In reality most artisans do not make a lot of money like a businessman or a doctor. But it is fun to be creative throughout the process, they are rewarding enough. Alice in Wonderland entered an unknown world and Alice encountered a multitude of various characters and situations and that is why she got all those fun, exciting and fantastic experiences. So, to me, an artisan is not just a person who is carving wood, but also a lucky explorer of a world filled with something fun, exciting and filled with curiosity just like Alice.

What craft do you do?
I usually make wooden dolls and household utensils. For example, Santa Claus, candlesticks, toothpick holders, chairs, stools, shrink pots, spoons, etc. I mainly use small ideas and inspiration for my works from the many different things I see around me.

What do you think of education and practical experience of being a professional artisan?
Woodcrafts has been with man for a long time. Only a few decades ago, a lot of people used hand tools and wood for things that were necessary in life. Through this process they learnt woodcrafts in a natural way. I think that it is a typical self-directed and active behaviour. Most people are more focused and think more creatively when they do their favourite and fun activities. For these reasons, I think that crafts combine personality, education and practice. It is learning by doing.

What are you doing at the moment?
Now we are building a small house and workshop in the mountains for myself and my wife. So my main project is to make all the things that we will be using there. Shelves, hangers, wooden chairs, etc.

You can find Yong and wife Im’s items for sale in Sätergläntan’s store, among other things the knobs on the image above.

© Image of Yong: Joohyun Im