Soon after I landed in Sweden in August, I had the great fortune of receiving an invitation from Leslie Williamson to come along with her to photograph a mysterious young axe maker for her excellent column in the New York Times. Some straight up California girl talk, a road trip anywhere, and the chance to watch Leslie work would have been satisfaction enough for me, and then we got to meet Julia Kalthoff of Wetterlings, a super rad, inspiring lady who likes to forge axes and run the whole business. She is also a stone cold fox. We all had a blast rambling through the beautiful old Wetterlings factory that seems to have never changed since 1880, Leslie taking terrific pictures with very little Scandic light, and then Julia passed down a giant splitting maul and two awesome old worker smocks out of the attic to Leslie and me, and I was in heaven. (Giant maul and axe jackets worn together made quite a splash at Herman’s, the gentle vegetarian restaurant where we headed that night back in the city.)
Martin, Elsa, and I returned the next week to attend the annual Wetterlings Axe Day complete with axe throwing competitions, forging, sharpening, and splitting demonstrations, kiddo axe safety, wieners, Julia’s presentation about reviving their old hydro power plant from whence they derive all their power, and hipster axe shaves from a barber imported from Stockholm. Another sweet day in Storvik. Julia is for sure running a joyful little factory making very high quality axes—I’m so pleased to see Leslie spreading the word with her beautiful pictures.