The Vesterheim community was sad to learn of the passing of Norwegian knifemaker and blacksmith Håvard Bergland.
Håvard Bergland was born in 1935 in Dalen, Telemark, Norway. After spending time at sea as a young man, Bergland returned home and attended carpentry school to work in his father’s woodworking shop. When he became interested in forging and knives, he went to Blaker for four years to learn metalworking, and he received his certificate in 1960. Håvard began teaching mechanical trades in Hamar, Norway. Later he taught his father how to forge knife blades and his father taught him the craft of knifemaking.Håvard was the author of The Art of Traditional Blacksmithing and Norwegian Knife Making, and in December of 2010 he received the St. Olav Medal for his efforts in spreading Norwegian traditional knifemaking beyond Norway mainly in Europe and the U.S. He became renowned as a Norwegian knifemaker and instructor, teaching throughout Norway and many other countries. He specialized in Scandinavian-style knives and blades in San-Mai and Damascus techniques. Håvard first taught in the United States at Vesterheim in 1984 and returned for many years until 2009. Since 2007, Vesterheim’s Folk Art School has held knifemaking and jewelry making classes in the Håvard Bergland Knifemaking Classroom in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center. Funds for the space were donated by many students and friends through a challenge from donor Dan F. Huebner, and the classroom was dedicated with Håvard present during a special celebration in his honor in 2008.
We are grateful for the skills and artistry that Håvard Bergland passed along to many during his teaching at Vesterheim and are glad that his expertise lives on through his students.
Included below are pictures of Håvard at Vesterheim over the years.