All week Alexander Yerks has been leading classes in how to make a kuksa, a Sámi-style, carry-it-with-you drinking cup, starting from a log and chopping and carving it down to a beautiful and useful utensil.

The kuksa is an old-style wooden cup made to travel far and wide and be at the ready, whether the beverage of choice is water from a Boundary Waters lake, coffee of any quality, or even a splash of something stronger (so we’ve been told). Students have been fully immersed in the world of green woodworking by using common tools like axes, adzes, gouges, hook tools, and, of course, the versatile sloyd knife to shape freshly harvested birch into a one-of-a-kind vessel. By crafting a kuksa, which is more than a spoon but less than a bowl, they’ve engaged in a wide array of techniques and tool usages that bridge the gap between spoon carving and bowl carving.