Art / Design

Daniel Wester expresses the beauty of hand-carved fresh wood

The Swedish wood artist’s design process is slow. ”It takes time for the tree to grow. And it takes time for me to carve the pieces and forms I want to,” he explains.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
February 19, 2021

Wester has spent his entire life abroad working with marketing and photography before moving back to Sweden five years ago. At the moment, as a creator and in his artistry, it’s all about wood.

He creates inspiring, eyecatching objects with one distinctive feature — he mainly uses fresh wood. The organic forms are familiar and, at the same time, unfamiliar. A variety of turned and carved objects — including spoons with long stalk-like stems that never seem to want to stop growing — in birch, shapes colored with calligraphy ink, and details such as zippers in metal and rivets in solid silver.

— I wanted to use a form, that everyone, or almost everyone, knows, he explains. Use it and reshape it. So I started to carve spoons. And I made them taller. More poetic with a thin fragile look to it. I wanted the spoons to grow towards the light. Always towards the light. Then I started to experiment with the forms of a bowl. Inspired by nature and organic forms, shells, pods, sticks, and stones. The things we treasure as children. Or at least, things I treasured as a child. For me, carving is a lot about the process. To work simultaneously with my head and hand. It’s a meditative and slow process. That’s one of the reasons why I just use axes and knives. I want the process to be slow. I don’t want to be more effective or to speed things up. Working with wood contains many different stages. It takes time for the tree to grow. And it takes time for me to carve the pieces and forms I want to. The slow pace is important for me in my work.

At Stockholm Design Week, he was a part of the Obsessive – shapes in motion exhibition at Bukowskis auction house, showing objects from his collection Strävan (Endeavour).

— Some of the pieces have been exhibited in Tokyo and Oslo earlier and some were never shown before. I do also show a few objects from my collection Oreda (Mess), named after a punk rock band I played in as a teenager. The pieces in that collection are a bit as it sounds. Proportions are off. They are rough in a nice way. Polite but not polished, or the other way around. I really enjoy making them. The Oreda collection grows and I’m probably going to do an exhibition with all of them in a couple of years.

Is it right that you don’t sell your pieces?

— Yes, I am very restrictive with opportunities of purchasing them. There are many reasons for that. But I do sell my pieces. On a good day. Most of them end up in the US, Wester tells.

What’s next for you?

— In these strange times, it’s very difficult to make plans. But I will hopefully do a solo exhibition in London, at Pantechnicon, later this year. It’s been postponed a few times already, but hopefully… I’m also doing a collaboration with [Swedish Michelin-starred restaurant] Daniel Berlin.

The exhibition is now available as a virtual tour here

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