Mette Bentzen and Lasse Kristensen, founders and owners of Egeværk, are renowned artists working in wood. They may be most recognized at Vetri as half of the collaborative quad behind Glasskibe, the Viking ships meticulously rendered in glass and wood. While their collaborative work was featured first at the gallery, Vetri began showcasing their masterfully crafted solo works – the first artists working with wood to be represented at the gallery! As they continued to push the scale of their work, they quickly outgrew their studio in Hundested, Denmark and are in the process of building a new studio. Here’s what Mette and Lasse have to say of this experience in these times:
Like everyone else, we are painfully aware of the global implications of the Coronavirus crisis. At the same time, we are in the process of beginning a new and exciting chapter of our lives: a 9,000 sq.ft. studio and gallery space which will open in Helsingør, Denmark, this May. In a time of many contradictory feelings, we find joy and comfort and energy in three things:
Over many years of passionately loving our material, we have adopted a useful dose of stoicism from it: we find inspiration and comfort in the fact that large trees have been around for much longer than we have. Much of the wood we shape by hand has lived through world wars, financial turmoil, perhaps experienced the Spanish Flu? Wood puts everything into perspective.
Second, the studio and gallery space are being remodeled (and will be beautiful) and the physicality of the work gives us a welcome escape from the overwhelming news feeds. Our dreams are intact and we will keep nurturing them by doing what we love!
Lastly, we experience the beauty and importance of community now more than ever. Small tight-knit communities close to us as well as larger, more distant communities. We experience so many acts of kindness and manifestations of togetherness and each and every one of them strengthens our belief that we are in this together and that creativity will prevail.
So all in all, we are doing quite well, thanks for asking, Vetri. Asking that question and sharing our perspective was another act of kindness within our community! Love, Mette & Lasse
Mette and Lasse describe their lengthy design and carving process as “a friendly quarrel.” Drawing inspiration from nature, they translate their initial ideas through sketching; those initial design ideas are then further developed by exploring the unique qualities and beauty of a given piece of wood.
Though the process follows a mostly linear path – from initial inspiration to sketching, to construction and hand shaping – both Mette and Lasse agree that the real magic comes from their ability to respond to the wood itself; to listen to and highlight the inherent subtle qualities of the material. They joke that even though they may at times quarrel in the process, they always speak nicely to the wood.