Sebastián on furniture art and storytelling

“Take all the time you need, but don’t get lost in the pursuit of perfection from the outset. By doing what you want, and being happy with what you’ve done, you’ll find joy in creating.” That’s what Sebastián Mateu has to say; the artisan behind the company Ekorre Möbler and podcast Hantverkardagboken.

Sebastián has been a carpenter for 14 years, with a lot of training and several scholarships and awards in his collection. From the very start, he’s used a carpenter’s bench from Sjöbergs. Even today, the bench is always at his side, serving as the basis for his popular company Ekorre Möbler.

“After thousands of hours at the bench, demand for my furniture started to grow, and I also had the opportunity to lecture at various schools. That’s when I founded the company, with a focus on making various storage boxes and giving lectures.

“Today, my hallmark is practical, space-efficient furniture. But most important of all is that everything I do has a story. Each piece of furniture tells a story that comes to life through the furniture’s design and details.”

This storytelling gives the furniture an important added dimension, says Sebastián.

“One example is my journeyman piece, the Estér cabinet. It’s named after a famous woman from my hometown of San Antonio in Chile. I’ve told her story through design and colors.

“Estér lived a tragic life until she met the famous musician Roberto Parra. They fell in love and lived together for a while. Their story lived on through his work, and I chose to create a complete furniture collection dedicated to their love story.”

The joy of creating lies in being daring

Telling a story through a piece of furniture requires an artist. For Sebastián, who isn’t afraid of challenges, it also requires a joy of creating. In his podcast, he meets other creatives and they often discuss the joy of the creative process – and the difficult path to a finished result.

“In the podcast, we fill a need by talking about the process and not just the outcome. The road to a product that’s loved is arduous, long, and winding – but few admit this out loud. Instead we just show short clips and a finished product.

“Yet even a difficult process involves a joy of creating, and it’s important to find it and hold onto it. I believe that the key to finding your joy of creating is to let go of any sense of prestige. This makes it easier to be daring.

“The fact is that we should all be inspired by children and how they discover the world – they try things, they succeed, and they fail – uninhibited and unabashedly, time and time again. I think this is the easiest route to the joy of creating.”

Not just any bench

Finding the joy of creating requires neither a set of trendy tools nor modern aids, but a good and stable foundation that gives craftspeople the good conditions they need, says Sebastián, who starts talking about his carpenter’s bench:

“I studied at Carl Malmsten University, where we used to work on Elite 2000-benches. I believe that was my first interaction with Sjöbergs. Today I work with an Original 1900, it stands in my living room and forms the basis for everything I create.

“Sjöbergs has been developing and refining this bench for a century. So much knowledge and experience has gone into it. As a craftsman, I can feel this in each and every moment. It’s not just any bench!

“Right now I’m teaching my four-year-old son to love the bench in the same way as I do. He often sits at the bench and encourages me to carve little old men and toys for him. I hope he and his little brother will have the same fond memories of this bench as I do.”

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