Julia Kalthoff

woman using axe to carve

Axes are amazing. The history, the aesthetics, the culture, everything. When we started making axes 2,5 million years ago, this marks our transformation to become humans in prehistoric times. Since then the axe allows us to fell trees, build houses, hunt, maintain a fire and more. We have explored new land and built new societies with an axe in our hand.

For me it started with a curiosity about the dirty work of shaping glowing steel using my own body. I learned forging at axe forge Gränsfors Bruk and then started working at axe forge Wetterlings, first as stand-in for the manager and then as CEO. It was a great honour to be a part of these teams and I learned a lot.

By starting my own company and working in smaller scale I could create conditions to stay true to my values in all aspects of the tool and in each step of the making. Always keeping high standards and working without compromise is my inspiration. Making axes, using axes and thinking about the different details of an axe never stops to fascinate.

I really love the feeling when axing. To be relaxed and work in your own rhythm. The axe becomes an extension of yourself. Sometimes you use your whole body to chop off big chunks, and sometimes you gently carve see-through shavings. Disappear in looking at the grain to see where to place the next cut. Slowly let the shape get closer to your aim. Listen to the sound of a sharp tool in the green wood.

As important as the axe has been in the history of mankind, it still is for us today, but not for the same reasons. Working with your hands makes you relate and connect to the world around you in a more respectful and humble way. Craft and nature also work as a calm oasis for many people in this fast spinning world. The axe embodies strength in so many ways.

I make axes out of curiosity and love for the tool itself. Also, because making tools for others is like spreading waves of all this around the world. Hoping they will inspire people to make something with their own hands, giving others as much satisfaction as it gives me.

Julia is running workshops at the GBS in our Theme Camps.