For eight days, eight students are assembled here in Vestfossen for an intensive class to build, from scratch, traditional skin on frame kayaks that each can paddle themselves. Anders gathers us at eight in the morning and calmly instructs us what the day will be like - joy full work and the eventual birth of a vessel to take on many fun trips. We work until eight at night when we share a meal. We are American, Danish, Norwegian, Bulgarian, all learning an Inuit art.
To see the meditative and intensive experience that is this class, please see a very nice and artistic video made by a previous student thttp://vimeo.com/search/people?q=kajak%20vestfossen. All the materials are raw and ready, each person gets there own tool box and as soon as Anders has spoken everyone gets to work, starting with the frame.
Frames being born
The students work in teams and the entire class works together to keep everyone on pace. For the first two days our goal was to design the kayak based on each students body, needs and impressions. Blood was split onto the kayaks, mistakes made, but over all by day three, eight almost finished kayak frames rest in our chapel workshop.
I was amazed in how quickly all of the students learned, how calm everyone was, and how hard working the general ethic of the class was. Making something in this manner can be very peaceful, becoming quite a learning process within and without.
Music makes the work sweeter
We work together to set the keels, put on bow and stern pieces and do design details while each students takes a one on one visit with Anders at the steam box. As steam calmly rises with a smell of wet spruce, the ribs for each kayak are bent one by one. Each student talks with Anders, observing the way he works, both keeping their eye on the kayak taking shape. Saying only what is necessary, the teach and student share a moment of experience in the art of the kayak.