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The Tormek Scholarship Award for 2018 in Sweden is awarded to Peter Pålsson and his detailed writing case made from oak, juniper wood and pearwood. This product is extremely flexible and can also be broken down into individual elements, providing the owner with a number of drawers of various sizes. The judges were impressed by Peter's playfulness and are pleased to present Peter with a complete Tormek system that we hope will help him with his creative work in future.
A feel for detail is very clear in Peter's work. From the playful, undulating tops to his selection of juniper wood for the bottoms of the drawers, giving off a wonderful scent when they are opened. This writing case is flexible, too; the smaller drawers can be placed in the larger oak drawer or mounted on the outside of it. All the drawers can also be used separately, providing additional applications and potential variations for users. The fact that this case includes several different wood varieties also sets Peter's own personal stamp on it.
“I chose oak and pearwood because I think they go really well together. The box that accommodates everything has to be really robust and resilient, which it is thanks to the oak. Pearwood, in its turn, is wonderful to cut but homogeneous as well. If you have cut patterns, you do not want to use wood varieties that are "restless" because the pattern you have created will then disappear. “
Function is something that is normally incorporated in the things Peter creates, but during his apprenticeship he chose to place greater emphasis on details and make the project more interesting in terms of craftsmanship.
“Doing this project was great fun. For instance, I really enjoy dovetailing and I made entire drawers using that technique. Apprenticeships can be quite tough as you get so involved in your project, so I am grateful that my project was really, really great to work with.”
A writing case was not the obvious choice when it came to choosing what to create, and in fact Peter's original idea was completely different.
“I planned to create a desk initially, but after working on the design for a while I discovered that all the interesting bits had been eliminated as I had to compromise. So I spent a week picking out my favourite bits from the original design, then I combined them all to make something new.”
Students devote a lot of time to their projects during their apprenticeships. Precision is incredibly important, and tiny margins may have a crucial impact on the end results – and such factors are assessed during the examination.
“On one occasion, a really talented former member of teaching staff told me that the sides on the longer drawers were slightly too thick, by just over 1–2 mm. I decided to redo my drawers after receiving that feedback, and that added more than a week to my work.”
Not only did Peter work creatively with wood during his apprenticeship, he also created his own tools; including a small paring chisel, a little marking knife and a scraper so that he could remove adhesive residue from the inside of the long drawers.
“I used old, discarded bits for this and ground them down on a Tormek, and it all went really well. It was really interesting to make my own tools as part of the process.”
Peter has been interested in woodcraft since a younger age. He studied at a carpentry school in Kristianstad, his hometown, at upper secondary level. With just one fellow student on his course, Peter's creativity was very much given free rein and he made products such as a Renaissance lute, which was not part of his curriculum. He also did work experience with a furniture restorer and says that there are times when history inspires him greatly.
“I really enjoy looking at the things people used to do. I often look at old everyday objects, but I frequently find them to be so clumsily made. But sometimes they offer some kind of function or similar that can inspire me. And then again, I often look at ugly furniture, things I really do not like. Such objects can sometime incorporate tiny details that I can pick up and work with, without copying everything. If you look at beautiful things, there is a risk of you starting to copy too much.”
After three years as a student at Capellagården, Peter will continue to spend time at the school during this autumn – but this time as a teaching assistant. His ambition is also to carry on working with an earlier project alongside his work at the school. He has worked together with two former student colleagues to produce a tea set that is used in Japanese tea ceremonies.
“This set includes everything you need to offer guests tea: cups, napkins, napkin holders… an entire collection of items. And everything is stored in a box. So I will be making the boxes, and a ceramics student and a textiles student – both from Japan – will be making the other items. “
Their previous cooperation involved creating four sets of tableware representing the four seasons, and these were exhibited at a gallery in Kyoto. And Peter will be heading east before long, too.
“I will be heading to Japan with a few of my friends on the Trans-Siberian Railway. We will be away for just over two months, it is going to be absolutely fantastic.”
His future is uncertain after the trip, but Peter is interested in design work so he may consider studying that, but there are no givens at this point in time.
“No matter what I do, I am absolutely certain that I will always continue my carpentry in some way”, he says with a smile.
Tormek are proud that Peter has used our products for his work and we wish him the very best of luck for the future!
The judges' statement reads:
"A great deal of talented craftsmanship and a decent dose of creativity. Peter has created a writing case involving lots of technically complex elements that would not have been possible without sharp tools. Moreover, every detail of his writing case has been carefully thought out; from materials and use to design and appearance. A creative work created for creative people."