Paul Oak, Algoma Sloyd
I’m Paul Oak from Sault Ste Marie, and I started Algoma Sloyd in 2017. I started carving spoons as a hobby, but it became an obsession as I gained access to the native trees growing in the forests of Algoma. I’ve spent the last 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. I’m self taught, but have also attended advanced spoon carving courses with Jarrod Dahl to hone my skills. I feel a deep connection to the knowledge gained working directly from the woods with hand tools. Every piece I carve 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.