Mark Angelini makes wooden spoons, bowls, plates and other useful objects by hand in Sedalia, Virginia.
What is sloyd?
Sloyd (derived from the Swedish word slöjd) is a term referring to handcraft, wood work, and general “craftiness”. It exists broadly as a pedagogy emphasizing working with one’s hands and simple tools to manipulate wood—as well as textiles, paper, and other mediums under the term hemslöjd—to create various useful objects like spoons, bowls, coat hangers, buttons, and so on. I became fascinated with this term after reading Jögge Sundqvist’s description of the history of sloyd as, “The word Slög is the viking word for slöjd meaning farmersmart, crafty, handy”. Sloyd is a philosophy of working with our surroundings—the landscape, the farm—our available tools and sources of energy—axes, knives, hands and muscles—and an attitude of playfulness and intuition where we listen to what the materials we work with have to say to produce various objects to meet various needs in daily life. This is the theme I endeavor to embody, explore and popularize, hoping that many will be inspired to live more simply and creatively while connecting to their local environment and making a more beautiful handmade world.
Where is Sedalia?
Sedalia is the tiny town in which my wife and I live, nestled at the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Appalachia. This is a place in many ways left alone by time in respect to the pace of modern America, where people still wave at strangers and selflessly help one’s neighbor. Here we farm and homestead, tend forests, orchards, and gardens, and connect deeper and deeper everyday to the the land around us while we figure out how to live from and with it.
Who is Sedalia Sloyd?
That’s me, Mark Angelini. I love farming, homesteading, foraging, scything, orcharding, fermentation, carpentry, and much more. I’ve been working wood for most of my life, starting with helping my dad build things, to learning how to use modern shop tools like bandsaws and table saws in my grandfather’s shop. In 2011 I learned that I could take this lifelong interest to another level by using axes and knives to make all sorts of things that are useful, functional, and uniquely beautiful. From that point I was hooked on this idea of green woodworking and sloyd and spent much of my spare time mastering spoon carving and slowly others forms of hand-powered wood working—from timber framing to joinery.
I also work professionally as an ecological landscape designer and educator, working with a range of clients to establish ecologically regenerative gardens, homesteads, and farms. I have been involved in the realm of organic gardening, agriculture, and ecological design for close to a decade, committed to strengthening local food economies and community health through food. This dovetails perfectly with my woodworking passions as I try to wrap my head around how to regenerate landscapes, produce nutrient dense food, and reduce my reliance on fossil fuels.
Please enjoy my musings on how I embody sloyd, work with wood, and explore the inseparable relationship between the crafts-person and the landscape we inhabit, from which all of our raw materials and energy come from. And of course, I hope you will enjoy using some of my wooden creations every day to make your life more enjoyable and fun.