I got interested in traditional Swedish character carving upon moving to Lindsborg, KS and encountering pieces by Anton Pearson. A book by Harley Refsal provided background into the specific style and instruction in carving a character. Subsequent time with Refsal and increasing immersion into the elements of Swedish culture as maintained in Lindsborg have provided opportunities and a context for developing a personal approach to this folk art form.
Flat Plane carving originated in the lumber camps of Sweden and Norway as far back as the mid 19th century. Men working in the camps were separated from their families, and they carved toys to take to their children when they went home. They used their working knives with thick, heavy blades, which were only capable of taking off large chunks of wood. This approach didn’t allow for smooth, rounded features – giving rise to the designation of “Flat Plan Carving”. This crude technique evolved into figure carvings that captured the roughhewn nature of the people of the time.
Anton Pearson carved images of the people he saw around him, evoking humor through poses and expressions. His work celebrates the people who settled Central Kansas and the efforts they had to make to form their communities.