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Scholarship recipient of 2017: Alexandra Michelsen

We are delighted to congratulate Alexandra Michelsen who is this year’s recipient of the Tormek Scholarship Award in Sweden. She impressed the jury with her wall cabinet "Skilla", a modern piece of furniture with a retro design. The prize, a complete Tormek system including machine and accessories, is going to be very useful since Alexandra will be part of a start-up workshop this Autumn.

In June, Alexandra graduated from her advanced course in furniture and cabinetmaking at Capellagården’s School of Craft and Design at Öland (Sweden). She has always had an interest in craftmanship. Raised in Staffanstorp, with a dad who was constantly renovating or building something new at home, she was automatically always involved in some way.

"My home has always been very close to my heart. Maybe that’s the reason that I have such a strong interest in building and making things for the home," says Alexandra.

Before her studies at Capellagården began, Alexandra went to a carpentry and furniture design school in Malmö, Sweden. To improve her skills further in woodworking and cabinetmaking, the natural path for her was to start studying at Capellagården at Öland. During her last year of studying, she has worked on and finished as her final exam piece, the wall cabinet “Skilla”. Almost a year earlier, in the Summer of 2016, Alexandra began to think about her final exam and what to create. Her idea was to make something not too big or clumsy. Because a piece too big wouldn’t fit into her apartment at that time, which was only 30 square meters.

"Unfortunately, I had no floor space left in the apartment, so it had to be a wall cabinet; besides, I didn’t really know how or where I would live in the future. I wanted to create an easy-to-move piece of furniture that could be placed in any home," says Alexandra.

The idea of the cabinet was to create a piece of furniture for the home in which she could store note pads, pens, stamps and other creative materials. Inspired by the phone book shelves from the 50's, she sketched a functional wall cabinet with a retro design. The dimensions of the cabinet were carefully planned to accommodate both her creative materials and personal things.

"The middle section is made to fit my A3 sketch pads. The upper part is high enough to store my pencil case standing. The two boxes are for personal items such as my wallet, keys and mobile phone. I also included a coin storage at the bottom of the cabinet because I always have coins scattered everywhere for some reason," she says laughingly.

Thanks to the cabinet’s thoughtful design and overall layout, she received the high score of 4,97 out of 5,00 in the final assessment of her piece. In addition, she had only used 200 out of the total 275 hours she was allocated.

Alexandra told us that you become very accurate with time, and that the importance of the small details in this type of cabinetmaking increases.

"I once called my parents and was dissatisfied that I had removed 0,3 millimeter too much on one part of the cabinet. My parents didn’t really understand what the issue was since it was only 0,3 millimeter, but as a cabinetmaker, every detail is crucial."

Alexandra has used the Tormek sharpening system previously during her studies in Malmö, but had the opportunity to increase her knowledge when she started her education at Capellagården.

"Here at Capellagården, I really learnt how to sharpen with the Tormek system and realised how amazing it is; especially how fast and easy it is to achieve a sharp and long-lasting edge. It’s so much more fun for me to work with sharp tools in my cabinetmaking."

This Autumn (2017), Alexandra and a former student at Capellagården are about to open their own cabinetmaking workshop in Blekinge in southern Sweden. Initially, their plan is to produce commissioned projects but their objective in the future is to create their own outdoor furniture collection.

"We have just started a collaboration with an architectural store in Blekinge with whom we will work and together, we will cooperate on various assignments and producs," says Alexandra

The new Tormek sharpening system will have a dedicated place in the new workshop.

"Now when we will need to account for every hour of our work, it’s massively important to have a sharpener which makes it fast and easy to sharpen our tools. The Tormek will be worth its weight in gold to us," says Alexandra with a laugh.

Motivation given by the jury

"Through impressive and precise craftmanship, Alexandra has, with her wall cabinet “Skilla”, created a modern piece of furniture in a retro design. With a playful design that combines both straight and round shapes, this cabinet is aesthetically pleasing, stylish and ambitiously executed."