I'm Dawson Moore and I started Michigan Sloyd when my wife and I moved back to northern Michigan in 2014. We decided to put down roots and grow our family on the farm my mom grew up on. Our two kids are now the 6th generation to live on that farm. I had recently started carving spoons as a hobby while still living in southern California. Carving became a full time obsession as I gained access to the native trees growing in the forests on our property. I spent the next several years harvesting my own wood, working it fresh and straight from the log, and learning to use traditional hand tools and techniques to make a variety of spoons and other kitchen items. More recently, I am focusing on designing and building stools and chairs. Even as I incorporate more modern working methods, I still feel a deep connection to the knowledge gained working directly from the woods with hand tools. Every chair still starts with a fresh log and an axe.
Sloyd, or slöjd, is a Scandinavian based handcraft movement and educational system. It tends to fall under the umbrella of "green woodworking", which mostly refers to woodwork that starts with "green" (still wet) wood, and is differentiated from woodwork that uses more typical kiln dried wood. Items produced through Sloyd are meant to be practical for everyday use around the home: spoons, bowls, cups, buttons, coat hooks, furniture, etc. Practicing Sloyd encourages self-sufficiency and an intimate knowledge of the local natural resources. Woodworking is the traditional focus, though other mediums include paper, textile, and metal. Within the woodworking craft, knife and axe skills form the foundation of the work.
I teach spoon carving and chair making a few times a year at various craft schools. You can sign up for courses here.
Andy Glenn of The Woodworking School at Pine Croft recently wrote a nice blog about an upcoming chair class I'm teaching.
For more information on my process and to keep up to date on what I'm working on right now, follow @michigansloyd on Instagram.
I got to have a fun conversation with Amy Umbel and Brien Beidler on their podcast, Cut the Craft. It offers a deeper look into the what and why of my craft. You can listen to my episode here. Or listen on Apple Podcasts here.