With near-mythical forests of birch and pine, the Nordic and Baltic countries boast a rich tradition of religious wood carving that is in many ways emblematic of their cultures. Sacred to the Touch examines the spiritual and intellectual projects of six twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists who have adapted and revitalized this tradition. Through interviews and analyses, folklorist Thomas A. DuBois explores the notions of continuity with the past that these artists seek to express through their art, examining the forest church of late Finnish artist Eva Ryyn�nen, the carvings of Norwegian Americans Phillip Odden and Else Bigton that decorate a planned replica of a stave church in Southern California, the medieval Catholic-rooted work of Lutheran Sister Lydia Mariadotter (Swedish), the grave markers and roadside figures of Algimantas Sakalauskas (Lithuanian), and the merging of Lutheran and pre-Christian traditions by Lars Levi Sunna (S�mi). With color photographs and detailed descriptions, Sacred to the Touch reveals the interplay of tradition with personal and communal identity that characterize modern religious carving in Northern Europe.
Thomas A. DuBois
AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Eva Ryyn�nen: Karjalan Kukkiva Puu (The Flowering Tree of Karelia) and Continuity Uncovered2. Phillip Odden and Else Bigton: In Search of Knowledge and Continuity Covered 3. Sister Lydia Mariadotter: �F�rs�k! Forts�tt!� (�Try! Continue!�) and Continuity Rediscovered 4. Lars Levi Sunna: �V�lde dat dego dat lea ja don boa �t oaidnit� (�Take it as it is and see what happens�) and Continuity Recovered5. Algimantas Sakalauskas: Tikeimas (�Belief�) < Tik �j mas (�Just Walking�) and Continuity Discovered ConclusionWorks Cited Index