When did you decide to learn this skill?
As a boy I was fascinated by traditional woodwork and the endless possibilities of wood. My first apprenticeship was in Weissküfer woodwork, with its chip-carving decoration, then I took a second apprenticeship as a woodcarver.
Why is this type of woodwork typical of Switzerland?
In a mountain region like Appenzell, where I was born, there is a lot of dairy farming and a lot of wood. Farmers needed equipment for the production of milk, so they made it out of wood, and that was the beginning of the Weissküfer profession.
What techniques do you specialise in?
Curving and bending wood, chip-carving, writing in wood, making three-dimensional wooden objects based on scaled-up natural forms. I sometimes combine Weissküfer work and woodcarving either in a traditional way or in a new, modern form.
What type of wood do you use?
Ideally, we look for maple trees growing at around 700-900m altitude near a river: those particular conditions produce wood that will bend without breaking, making it ideal for Weissküfer work. The forests around Lake Brienz are a good source of wood like that.