The FOLKLIFE INSTITUTE OF CENTRAL KANSAS was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant to document the Wood Working which existed in the Smoky Valley of Kansas. This valley was the home chosen by Swedish immigrants in the 1880's. One of the pastimes of present day inhabitants as it was with their forefathers is the manipulation of wood into objects.The research funded by the NEA grant documented photographically the furniture fabrication, surface decoration and wood carvings. Additional historical research and interviews with present day woodworkers provide a basic collection for future generations to enjoy.

Anton Pearson, an immigrant originally from Malmo Sweden, is the best known of the woodcarvers of the Smoky Valley. A group of eight figure carvings of the Salvation Army Band on a street corner was exhibited in Sweden in the "MORE SWEDISH THAN SWEDEN" exhibition.

Norman Malm, worked in the orginal Pearson studio, where he does his own carving & has many of Anton Pearson"s best carvings on exhibition.

HUGO SHOGREN made apple trees, carved figures, and built a radio station that reached 8 miles on a good day.

APPLE TREES existed in Sweden prior to the 1750's. Apples were squered on the end of the pointed "arms". Today you find gumdrops. Lindsborg KS.had 10 makers.

DAVE ANDERSON was a coach who carved whenever he lost a game. The wings were carved from two by twelves bought at Howes lumber yard

GRANDMA LAWTON carved in Sweden before immigrating to the U.S. She carved horses, sewed the reins, added small brass buttons to ornament the bridles. A good collection may be seen in McPherson,KS.

CHET PALMER made an apple tree twelve feet tall. The APPLE TREE PLANS are copied from one of his early trees.

There are several Dala Horse Makers that were interviewed for the grant. One of the most prolific is Ragnar Milstrom, shown in front of his old business location. Ragnar owns a Dala Horse that is ten feet tall which he takes to Scandinavian art fairs across the U.S. He spends winters in Sweden. He has collected old dala horses, and made a display of the different styles he has found. Take a look at the page on Dala Horses
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