Idle Hands

Idle Hands

Idle Hands


Workbench, linden, hemp rope

Haugeanism was a religious reform movement started by Hans Nielsen Hauge. Hauge (1771-1824) was a Norwegian protestant preacher from a farmeres family which belonged to a pietist Lutheran religion. As a preacher, he formed his own movement, the Haugeans, which is claimed to have influenced Norwegian economy, as the networks of his followers became powerful and many.

When Hans Nielsen Hauge was 25 years old, he had a powerful spiritual experience which sparked his career. He started up approximately 30 different businesses in Norway; publishing houses, breweries and paper factories. He was a banker, a merchant, an investor, a speculator, an educator, a writer and an oppo- sition leader. More than 10 years of his life, he would spend in prison- at the time it was illegal to preach without the blessing of the bishop.

By setting up businesses, Hauge facilitated so that idle hands could work, as he would put it. By working, people could put their mind to something useful, and the learning of a new skill/craft could be translated into hard cash. This would be of help to the individual as well as the community. While Hauge stayed in prison, he kept himself busy; he would knit, embroider and do woodcarving.

My friend helps me to carry a workbench into my studio. I buy lots of linden. I have blocks of wood spread around. I place a piece on the work- bench. The metal brackets attached are used to secure the wood in place so as to make it easier for me to work with and carve. I hit it. I hit it. I hit it. My hand hurts. It’s softer than I thought. I can do this. I get more knives. I thought this would be fucking hate-project. But I go to bed earlier these days. I want to be fresh early in the morning. I have to be wood carving. I’m surprised. This is satisfying. (Excerpt from Anna Ihle’s MFA essay)


Photos by Lina Kruopyte