"My hands are my powertool"

Marie Risom

Meet cabinetmaker Maria Risom 

In cabinetmaker Maria Risom Thygesen's workshop, all the tools hang neatly, and everything has its fixed place. Angle iron. Pliers by size. Screwdrivers by size. In the middle of the wall hangs a polished brass sign with the text Maria Risom Thygesen. Here Maria Risom Thygesen - aka MT Design, builds and weaves her benches. Here she uses her hands to create, so her thoughts calm down, and her hands do their thing.

We visited Maria Risom to discover where her creative joy comes from and how she makes it unfold. What drives it and how she has found her familiarity with the creative abilities of her hands. That is why I am now standing on a residential road in Brørup, Jylland.

Because here, Maria Risom has set up her workshop in her parents' garage. Here there was room for all her machines, prototypes, and storage. She first shows me around the childhood home. Several pieces of furniture she has built and designed between Danish design classics such as Nanna Ditzel and Poul Henningsen. A bar. A lounge chair in core leather and oak. Small round trolleys. A wicker bench. In each room, her furniture is part of the decor. "Yes, my parents get it pretty empty when I once move into a big house," she says, followed by a warm laugh.


A creative suitcase full of your own experiences

But back to the workshop. Maria is not the type who wants to talk about using her hands. She will use her hands now, show me how to use an old toothbrush to remove excess glue efficiently, That one can use "biscuits" to make the strongest joints, how to remove dirt from your beautiful wooden furniture with a fine sanding sponge that still protects the veins of the wood.

That it should just be the wood that became her favorite material was probably mainly something with the smell of wood. But also the desire to master techniques that could be used for larger projects.

It started with small things, jewelry, clothes, a leather bag. And gradually, the desire and courage came to create something big for her own home as well. Furniture that she could take with her. Therefore, she began her carpentry education to fill even more skills and techniques in her "creative suitcase," as she puts it.

"Because the more techniques you master, the easier it is to bring your ideas to life. I do not feel bound by material. I always mix materials and use all the creative processes and techniques I have learned for all the ideas I get all the time. And if there's something I can not do, then I try my best".

For example, she has taught herself to braid by watching youtube and use that technique to make her colorful braided benches. Her strong fingers with long artificial nails in shiny glossy lavender routinely move back and forth, attaching the paper string to the attached nail nails. The fake nails act as adequate protection for her fingers so that her nails do not become frayed and completely smashed, she says with a huge smile—a pro tip for any craftsman.


"My creative urge is my free space."

Using her hands to create with has always followed her. And the more she has had the material in her hands, the greater the joy of the craft. That someone has taken the time to detail. For the plastering work. For a particularly beautiful collection. And so the creative suitcase has been filled with more and more techniques.

"It may well be that there is order here. But when I start creating something new, then I allow chaos, then I try a lot of new things, and maybe the result is filled with beauty flaws, but you have to try something to see if it works, and then the 2nd version I build more thoroughly".

It is not uncommon for Maria Risom to sit and braid all night because it is there in the dark. When the rest of the city is asleep, she finds peace with her braiding work. When many meters of paper string slide between her fingers, the brain disconnects, resulting in touch and feel. A beautiful bench where she has had every inch of them through her fingers.

"My creative urge has been my free space. If my head is full of many thoughts and everyday life seems unmanageable, then I need to do something with my hands. It's therapy for me."