The Art of Durability

July 19, 2017, Philadelphia- 

Whilst waiting for some family members to meet me at downtown Philadelphia’s Cafe Ole,

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI spotted an intriguing wall, across the street from the coffee house:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A brief walk showed that this belonged to a museum and art gallery, the Center for Art in Wood.  I spent about an hour, in the astonishing museum, which showcases both the traditional plank art of northern Europe and several contemporary pieces, from around the globe.  Several variations use the root word, Mangle, meaning cut, as their base.  Below, is a Danish piece, called a manglebraette.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bear with me, I am taking the liberty of interspersing the traditional ware with contemporary pieces.  This one, by an American, Michael Scarborough, celebrates Buddhism.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Australian artist, Ashley Eriksmoen, presents this Judeo-Christian piece.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Who wants a wooden sheep?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These Icelandic pieces are examples of that nation’s trafakefli traditional craft.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Sweden’s variation is known as mangelbraden.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Norway’s woodcraft, mangletraer, is displayed at the front of the exhibit.  Some pieces are in glass cases.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Finland adopted the art form, as well, and is the easternmost country in which the mangleplank tradition took root.  Its form is called kaulauslandet.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Surprisingly, it is the Netherlands which is credited with originating the art form.  Merchants of the Hanseatic League spread it to the Nordic lands.  The Dutch form is called mangelplanken.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The variety, in both styles and uses, of woodcraft could capture one’s interest for hours, I think.

Here are a couple of other contemporary pieces.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I will definitely be back here, next summer, at the very least as a customer-for one of the gallery shop’s more utilitarian pieces, while learning more about plank art.  I, who whittled as a child, could possibly fashion something of use, one of these fine days.

10 thoughts on “The Art of Durability

  1. My grandfather whittled when he was in the army in WWII. He made a set of hound dogs in various poses. My cousin has them now. They were always displayed by my grandmother as if they were fine art pieces – and in my eyes they were!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s