”Carving an axe is literally like spending time with nature”
When Julia Kalthoff meets someone for the first time and shares what her profession is, an eyebrow is often raised. And to some extent, she has also surprised herself with becoming an axe manufacturer. During her upbringing in Skåne in the very south of Sweden, she often played around with fabrics from her mother’s fabric store. But all the time there was this curiosity about forging and the mysterious fact that by heating something up to 1200 degrees Celsius, you could form hard materials with your own hands.
After finishing a forging course at an axe production company, she soon became acting CEO of forge owned by the same people. But after five years of running a business, she longed for the craft itself. Having moved on to study economics, Julia made up her mind: She would become a blacksmith of her own. How would she like her axe if she got to
decide every little detail herself? All the angles and the right balance?
”I turned to a doctor of metallurgy and of a craftsman I’ve always looked up to for help. After bumping ideas with them and after about a year’s work, my first chip-ax was ready. I started a company, launched a website and curiously wondered if any orders would come in. They came pouring in the very first week!”
Ever since, the orders have kept coming in. Having been her own employer since 2018, Julia now employs a total of five. The company has moved into larger premises and Julia is now making plans to start courses in axe manufacturing. She wants more people to experience the absolute sense of peace of mind she experiences when carving.
”You are very calm and one hundred percent attentive at the same time. It’s almost as if you’re spending time with nature through the piece of wood in your hands. In order to get
to that heightened feeling, the axe must be so good that you stop thinking about it and just be in the moment. Everything I do is about getting into that feeling. I want to be in it and I want for others to be in that feeling too.”
Read more about Julia and her work at https://www.kalthoffaxes.se/
The limit for defining itself as an urban location goes to a crowd of 200 people. Fredrika in Åsele municipality lost that status in 2015. Still, the village is well worthy pf its place on the map, not least thanks to its stately and unexpected Buddha statue.
We’ll eat, you’ll cook. So it goes, the chant (ramsa, in Swedish) that is taught to Swedish children in school to remember the names and order of rivers in Halland. To remember the name of the dark water that forms a tributary to the Umeå River, no need to chant. It’s called, in short, Ramsan (”The Chant”).
Nalta means little. In Vänsterbotten, there is a proverb laconically clarifying how nalta is best used: Harta borti harta jer brano, harta borti he, he jer nalta. (You may want to Google it, or better still, ask someone from Västerbotten).
There has long been a debate on Blattnicksele/Blattniksele in Sorsele municipality whether it should be spelled with or without the letter ”c”. To avoid trouble, we go with the the Ume-Saami name – Bláhnage.