Welcome to my father's wood carving page!

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K. G. (Gus) Gerdin's picture along with a few of his carvings and tools.

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       My father was born in Sweden in 1904 and came to this country in 1922 at the age of 17.  When he retired from Northern States Power Company in 1970, he started carving.  Many of his subjects were characters he knew as he was growing up in the old country.  All these were carved between 1970 and his

death in 1994, except for that of Charles Atlas.  These

carvings were all done in hardwood, so they would hold the detail.  The lightest wood is apple, the orange wood is birch, and the dark wood is walnut.

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           Gus Gerdin and his carving of Jesus

          which he gave to Rev. Glenn Peterson

                         of Duluth, MN in 1988.

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This is a watercolor version of the photo shown

above that I just completed.  I call it 'Gus'

and it is 16.5" x 19.5".  This painting won an

"honorable mention" at the Cape Henry Show of

the Chesapeake Bay Watercolorists Society.  This

may not sound like much, but there were many 

superb paintings at that show that the artists

received no awards.

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   Three views of Gus' carving of a businessman

in his hometown of Torsby (Thor's town) in the

Swedish Province of Vaermland.

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Three views of Gus' carving of Charles Atlas,

who was a famous in the 1920's for feats of

strength such as pulling a railroad car single-

handed.  This was carved sometime in the 1930's.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a middle-aged

Swedish couple.  My mother, Ethel, painted the

carving when he finished.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a dancer from an

advertizement he found in a magazine.

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Three views of Gus' carving of his grandfather

(farfar or father's father) in his Sunday suit.

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Three views of Gus's carving of his farfars head.

His farfar worked in the woods making charcoal

for a local lumber mill which was very dirty work.

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Three views of Gus' carving of his mother (my farmor

or father's mother) beating the water out of some

clothes in the process of doing the wash.  It was

better than beating them on the rocks by the lake,

but barely.

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Four views of Gus' carving of me when I was in my

late twenties.  I wish I actually looked that good!

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Three views of Gus' carving of a mountain goat.

You can see one of the goats ears has broken off

in the course of the years.

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Three views of Gus' carving of my cousin Mait's

husband Henning Nilsson putting hay on a rack to

dry.  This the way they dried hay in Sweden

when my dad was a kid in the 1910's and up until

the 1970's when he took a picture of Henning.

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Three view of Gus' carving of an icefisherman.  A

common sight on the lakes of Minnesota where my

parents lived.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a man's head.  I hope

I wasn't the subject.

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Three views of Gus' carving of him and my mother

from a photo taken in the 1950's (except for the

flower part!) on their silver anniversary.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a Swedish man of

the early 1900's holding a hot drink (coffee of

course!).

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Three views of Gus' carving of Mr. Jingles who was

a homeless man living in Minneapolis in the 1970's

and 80's, who made his living collecting aluminum

cans for recycle, picking them up with a long pointed

tool as pictured.  From a picture in the Minneapolis

Star-Tribune.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a Torsby man about

to place some 'snus' (Swedish snuff) in his mouth.

This became very popular in Sweden during the 1800's and it still is.  The Swedish immigrants were

so thick along Cedar Ave. in Minneapolis in the early

1900's that it was known as 'Snus Boulevard.'

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Three views of Gus' carving of an 'obaeck' from a

root he found in Florida.  It is mostly the root except

for some eyes and teeth (see center view).  An obaeck

was a forest or swamp spirit haunting those venues

in Sweden when he was a kid.  Christianity my have

removed the belief in the major Norse gods (Thor, Odin, and Fre) but belief in the little spirits survived,

including elves, fairies, and leprechans (the latter

called 'tomte' in Swedish).  An example of a tomte

is to be found in Selma Lagerloef's 'Nils Holgerson's

Wonderful Trip Around Sweden'.

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Three views of Gus' carving of his parents as they

might have looked in the late 1890's before my

grandfather (farfar) got sick (diabetes).  He died in

1906 when my dad was 1.5 years old.  While they

someone with horses and a reaper for hay which took

up maybe 10 of their total of 20 acres of farmable

land, for the smaller crops of oats, rye, and some-

times wheat he used a scythe.  The rake was made

entirely of wood with wooden pins for the teeth

which had to be replaced when they broke which

happened frequently.  My dad got a lot of experience

with these tools when he was growing up.

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Two views of Gus' carving of a pelican.

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Four views of Gus' carving of Pipi Longstocking.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a little old lady

scolding a bum sitting on a parkbench.  Reminds

me of scene in Loring Park in Minneapolis in the

early 1950's.  My mother Ethel painted the carving.

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           Two views of Gus' carving of a seahorse.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a man's head.  I think

it is a television character commedian from the 1970's whose name escapes me.

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Three views of Gus' carving of one of his childhood friends in Sweden, who became a school teached in

Torsby, when the photo used as a subject for this carving was taken.

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Three views of Gus' carving of Gustav Vasa the

founder of modern Sweden.  Here, Vasa is in the

town of Mora in the province of Dalarna (the valleys)

trying to get the peasants to rise up and remove their

Danish overlords.  He was unsucessful so he had to

flee toward Norway on skis to escape the Danes.  His

trip is commemorated in the 'Vasaloppet', a long

cross-country skirace between the Norwegian border

and Mora held in February every year.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a Viking defending his

ship from borders.  Gus researched the clothing,

helmet and weapon and came up with this pose.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a Viking head, possibly

a study for the previous carving.

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Three views of Gus' carving of Winston Churcill.

Copied from a similar carving we brought during

our trip to Sweden in the summer of 1961.  It was

my father's first trip back to the old country in

over 39 years.

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Three views of Gus' carving of a young man.  I would

like to think I was the inspiration for this one (dream

on!).

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