Some weeks ago, one of our favorite online retail specialists when it comes to the traditional crafts – OEN – shared this highly inspirational peek into the Hornevarefabrikken workshop in Bøvlingbjerg, Denmark. Founded in 1935, Hornvarefabrikken – which translates to The Hornware Factory – was set up by Peter Husted, a craftsman and visionary with great ambitions. He designed and made many of the spoons and tableware that are still sold by Hornvarefabrikken today. In 2007 designer Sara Brunn Buch acquired Hornvarefabrikken under the condition that she continued the tradition of first-rate craftsmanship. Still operating in the far West of Denmark, the company persists in creating immaculate hornware made by hand in a small set of workshops, valuing traditional craftsmanship in its core. Recently they even named their new collection – Tradition – after this exact philosophy consisting of tableware, accessories, interior and jewellery items, which are all produced in their incredible workshop, opened to us for a fascinating visit through OEN.
Hornvarefabrikken is part of an interesting history stretching back 200 years. It is a story of poor local artisans in the moorlands of Denmark’s far West, two economic crises, one World War, two incapacitating accidents, a visionary entrepreneur, and great ambitions.
The Danish company is highly committed to honoring the original craftsmanship it was founded on and to preserve the practical knowledge built over many decades. New machines have been introduced to reduce production times over the years, but the work processes are much the same as they were two hundred years ago. Once the craftsman finds a suitable piece of horn, he or she draws a spoon outline onto the surface and cuts out the design using a band saw. They then grind it in to a uniform thickness using sandpaper, and create a handle by soaking the blank in hot oil for a few minutes. This turns the horn soft and means it can be manipulated. After drying they go through many different processes of finishing, from sanding to polishing, the final object is then cleaned and is ready to use and sold, at OEN amongst others.
OEN was founded by Mark Robinson – who featured Tenue de Nîmes about 5 years go – to highlight how design, art and craft can play a part in our modern world. Objects that aren’t brash or attention seeking, those that sit quietly, doing their job well and becoming seamlessly integrated in to our everyday environment. Inspired by the simple things in life, our online retail venture showcases a curation of everyday design and craft. As well as stocking a variety of well-made contemporary objects that have clarity and integrity at their core, we also look to document these artisans and share their stories. We have been following them for years now in which the consistently surprised us with high quality additions to their catalogue.
Photography by Mads Krabbe.
For more information on Hornvarefabrikken see here.
The incredible products of Hornvarefabrikken are available at OEN’s webstore here.