16 May Immerse Yourself in Greenwood Carving with Angela Robins
Greenwood carving is an increasingly popular and accessible form of woodcarving wherein carvers work with “wet” wood–freshly harvested, primarily from fallen trees or recently-pruned shrubs. Green wood is usually easier to carve than dried wood, making it an ideal choice for beginners and captivating for those with carving expertise. At the Folk School, we have several upcoming greenwood carving classes where you can learn to make spoons, bowls, and more–including Angela Robins’ class later this summer!
Her class, “Greenwood Carving For All,” from August 13-18, truly lives up to its name: It’s perfect for woodcarvers of all levels, from total beginners to those looking to dive deep into sloyd, a Scandinavian handicraft tradition. Enjoy our interview with Angela below to learn more about the class and her experience as a carver. You can easily register for Angela’s upcoming class today on our website!
JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming Woodcarving class, “Greenwood Carving for All” happening in August. What will folks learn and what can they expect to leave this class with?
AR: Students will find their way into the fascinating world of sloyd! We’ll cover how to carve your own bowl and spoon from green wood with designs, tools, and techniques inspired by this Scandinavian handicraft tradition. Folks will start with a recently felled log, split it with wedges and froes, then shape it using axes, adzes, gouges, and carving knives. Topics will include wood selection, ergonomic tool use, bowl and spoon design, tool sharpening, and surface finishing. My class will be beginner-friendly and all levels of woodcarvers are welcome to attend.
JCCFS: What attracted you to the Folk School? What are you most excited about for your first time teaching here?
AR: I really appreciate that the John C. Campbell Folk School offers long, 5-day courses, so students can truly immerse themselves in a new skill and process. I think that is absolutely critical for learning and retaining new skills! I often teach 2 ~ 3 day classes, and everyone wishes they were longer. So, I am grateful for the opportunity to offer a longer-term course.
Angela’s black birch dough bowl – a unique vessel for serving food, holding fruits, or creating a centerpiece on a table.
Angela at work in her residency studio at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
JCCFS: Tell us a little more about yourself for those who are unfamiliar. How did you get started?
AR: I am a woodworker and educator, and I’m inspired by the curved forms found in Scandinavian and Japanese wooden crafts, in particular the boat and bowl. My woodworking practice is rooted in folk schools. I interned and later did a two-year residency at North House Folk School in northern Minnesota, and am a recipient of the Minnesota Folk & Traditional Arts Grant. I’ve apprenticed with a green woodturner on the power lathe, and studied wooden bowl carving with an axe and adze in Sweden. I’m passionate about sharing these traditional skills that keep us in touch with historic traditions, out natural surroundings, and our physical potential.
JCCFS: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
AR: I love witnessing people’s excitement and inspiration as they learn a new skill that was once intimidating. It’s invigorating!
JCCFS: Thinking about your extensive experience in Woodcarving, what tips would you give an aspiring craftsperson?
AR: If you’re having trouble picking a craft, I recommend finding a craft that grounds you in a community you really enjoy. That is what worked for me. I am a creative person – I’m drawn to close to everything! But getting rooted in woodworking at a folk school, and truly enjoying the group of people it connected me to, is what helped it to really stick.
JCCFS: Where can folks find you if they want to stay up to date on your work?
AR: My website is angelarobins.com and I’m on Instagram at @robins.angela
Angela’s dough bowl made from an aspen tree and painted black
Upcoming Class with Angela
Greenwood Carving for All
August 13-18, 2023
Find your way into the fascinating world of sloyd! Learn how to carve your own bowl and spoon from green wood with designs, tools, and techniques inspired by this Scandinavian handicraft tradition. Start with a recently felled log, split it with wedges and froes, then shape it using axes, adzes, gouges, and carving knives. Topics will include wood selection, ergonomic tool use, bowl and spoon design, tool sharpening, and surface finishing. All levels welcome.
About Angela Robins
Angela Robins is a woodworker and educator, inspired by Scandinavian and Japanese wooden crafts – particularly the boat and the bowl. From axe carving to woodturning on the lathe, she works primarily with freshly cut, or green, wood. She has studied traditional woodworking in Japan, Norway, Sweden, and for two years as a resident in the artisan development program at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. In 2015, she received a Minnesota State Arts Board Folk and Traditional Crafts grant to study Scandinavian wooden bowl turning. Angela sees teaching traditional woodworking as a way to connect people with their natural surroundings, with one another, and to the functional objects in their everyday lives.