Andreas is a Finnish woodcarver with a lifetime of experience hand-carving unique wooden utensils and houseware.
What's your story?
I grew up on the countryside outside a small village called Socklot, surrounded by woods, fields and the sea. So the nature around us was our playground as kids. When I was five years old I got my first knife and of course I had it with me whereever I went. My father taught me how to work with wood and use the knife safely when carving, how to sharpen it, and how to take care of it. Growing up I always had a knife near by and there was always something to carve; a butter knife or a bow or whatever. During my teenage years I had a lot of other interests but the interest for woodwork was still there in the background even though I didn't do much about it. When I turned 16 I chose to study house building like my father. And under that period I started dating my future wife, Elin. I was so in love, and I wanted to give her all kinds of fancy presents but I was just a poor student with no extra money. So I started carving things for her. I made rings, pendants, bowls and all kinds of stuff, and she loved it! I think it was at that period my interest for woodcarving came back, inspired by love.
We got married in April 2011. We were both 20 years old at the time. I started my own construction firm in the beginning of 2012. I was so excited and inspired to build something up from scratch. I did put a lot of time in that firm so there wasn't that much energy and creativeness left for anything else.
In the end of my third year as an entrepreneur I was out of work for a whole month (December), and Christmas was approaching. Without any extra cash for Christmas presents we decided to make them ourselves. My wife started knitting socks and I sharpened my knife and began carving. We sat in front of the fire stove in the kitchen making these presents. And while carving I took pictures of my work and posted on my Instagram, both progress shots and finished products, and people seemed to like it. Friends started asking me if they could order stuff from me that they could give to their loved ones as well. I ended up carving salad servers, butter knifes and other things until just a few hours before the Christmas festivities started. When the new year began, 2015, I was so overjoyed with my rediscovered hobby, woodcarving. So I decided to get myself a regular job instead of continuing with my construction firm, so that I would have more time in the evenings.
Now almost 1 1/2 years later I believe I made the right decision. When I suddenly had so much time left after work, my creativity started flowing again and I began carving and making beautiful utensils out of wood. I honed my knife skills. I taught myself how to use the lathe. And under this time, while I was making things, I continued to share my work on Instagram with the result of more followers who gave me feedback on my work which gave me even more inspiration and creativity.
I'm not a full time maker. I still have a day job as a construction worker. And when I'm at the workshop doing my thing in the evenings it is only because I enjoy doing it and it gives me a lot of satisfaction. I used to say that it is like free therapy.
What's your creative process?
Because I have a day job I don't go to the workshop before the evenings, which suits me perfect 'cause I'm usually more creative in the late evenings. I remember in the beginning I could sit and carve til 3 o'clock in the morning, just following the creative flow.
Mostly it all starts with a picture in my head; an idea that forms into a design. It's hard to explain where I get my inspiration. I guess it is from everything around me at the moment. My wife is also a source of inspiration. Thinking of what she might like and what I would like to give her gives me great ideas!
What makes your work unique?
There's nothing new under the sun, someone said ones. And when it comes to kitchen utensils it might be true. People have made them for many thousands of years. So being unique can sometimes be difficult.
I try to make my thing as much by hand as possible. Doing it the old way with handtools gives every product a bit of uniqueness even though they might look a bit similar to one another. I follow a few other makers on Instagram and their creativeness can inspire me, but when it comes to designing my own things I try to not be influenced by their work, but instead find my own style and design.
What advice do you have for other aspiring wood carvers?
First of all, you don't need a workshop and lots of fancy tools. When I moved out from my childhood home and had to find myself a place to carve my "workshop" was in my bedroom. Then I moved to the livingroom and after that to the kitchen. At that time I had only a good knife and a few gouges. With time I bought more tools and found a bigger place to carve at.
So get yourself a good knife and start carving! Don't be afraid to do mistakes because you can learn a lot from your failures. Learn how to sharpen your tools. It's safer and more fun if it cuts like a razor.
Woodcarving should be something relaxing, so no hurry. take it slow and learn how to use your knife and tools properly.
Where can we find your work?
Hey, do you know someone who loves wood-carved utensils?
Support Andreas and show your wood untensil-loving friend you care about them by sharing this interview:
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