It all started by reading their book Vershout (or their English version The Forest Woodworker). I love how they describe their passion for wood and handicraft. Working with freshly felled trees, making useful things and working with real tools. Greenwood working is such a cool craft and a great reason to get outside again. And their book is the perfect source for ideas and learning.
The Woodmasters (De Houtmeesters) is a personal project where I collaborate with inspiring creatives who are as passionate about wood as about the artisan craft. Basically creating cool (wooden) things by hand. What’s their process? What drives them? Where do they work? It’s on ongoing short film series which over time will include violin builders, furniture builders, ship carpentry, etc. Stay tuned.
About three years ago I bought my first real axe in Edinburgh (Scotland) where I was shooting some cool content with Lamborghini and the Waldorf Hotel. During a bit of downtime, I wandered into a small outdoor shop specialized solely in Swedish brands. Including Gransfors Bruk a 100+ year old Axe brands and Mora Kniv another century plus year old knives manufacturer. The sales guy was pretty successful as I walked out with a bag full of hardware toys (aka tools…).
So I had the tools but not the skills and thanks to the entertaining and knowledgeable words of Sjors van der Meer en Job Suijker in their book I recently reignited my enthusiasm to start my wood projects again. I just love how they talk about the process of working with wood. What is gives. And what you can learn from green woodworking. It’s an invitation to create something useful.
In current times when days seem centered around survival, screen time and what feels like staying as far away from human connections as possible. It is also the opportunity start a new conversation… On my to do list has always been a short film series around the topic of artisan style handicraft. Unique characters making interesting (wooden) things with natural ingredients and cool hand tools. With this series creating a platform to share their stories, passion and motivation. Now, in a period of downtime the concept of ‘de Houtmeesters’ (the Woodmasters) was born.
I reached out to the gents at Vershout testing the waters if they wanted to work together on a strong motion piece. Not only did they say yes … they jumped on board and within 24hrs we sat round a (big) table at their workplace in the forest. Surrounded by fresh air, wood chips and carpenter benches.
Their enthusiasm towards the project was contagious. They opened their ‘doors’ to what they love doing and over three days of filming we created their story. This is collaboration in the purest form. This is why I love personal work.