Within seconds of entering this shop run by the Meusburger family, an umistakeable fragrance familar to all those who love the Alps and their mountain forests fills your nostrils, leaving you in no doubt as to which material is the star of the show here in the Tannheimer Tal Valley: pinewood.
Klaus Meusburger, who trained as a (wood) sculptor, took over the family sculpting and carving business from his father Josef many years ago. More recently, Klaus’s children Martina and Markus have been working closely with their father to bring this traditional handicraft into the 21st century, leading to the creation of the brand "alpenschick".
It has been known for centuries that the oils contained in pinewood have a relaxing and revitalising effect on the human body. What's more, pinewood is softer and therefore easier to shape and work than other types of wood. These qualities make it a favourite with sculptors such as the Meusburgers, who over the decades have carved this popular material into a wide array of shapes and images: humans, animals, seasonal decorations, trophies, fruit bowls, corkscrews – the list is long.
Although alpenschick does, on request, produce multiple copies of one and the same object, the items the Meusburgers are most proud of tend to be one-off commissions demanding absolute concentration, passion, creativity and expertise. Even among these one-of-a-kind items there are some which stand out in particular – for example, the hand-carved eagle statue which was gilded and then transported to Saudi Arabia for King Abdullah.