Chance, talent and dedication – the life ingredients of carver Hermann Klocker
One does not have to be born in the Leutasch Valley to belong here and to impact the region, at least to a small extent. Woodcarver Hermann Klocker has been proving this impressively for over 20 years. The gentle sound of carving wood and the wood shavings of the native East Tyrolean were part of the inventory of the Kühtaierhof for a long time. Now he carves in the House of Culture Ganghofermuseum and is happy about every visitor who stops by his carving room on the first floor.
New home House of Culture & Ganghofermuseum
You hear them as soon as you enter the House of Culture & Ganghofer Museum: the gentle strokes with which Hermann Klocker works his wood to create nativity figures, cows or birds. When you get to the first floor, you sometimes stumble over small and large wood chips. “That’s another way to bring a little extra life into the museum,” Klocker says mischievously. The 82-year-old loves his new workplace, the light-flooded room with the countless carving tools and the many large and small figures that decorate the ledges and walls. That he ended up here was a happy coincidence, like so many things in his life. His former workshop in the Kühtaierhof was needed elsewhere, and Klocker was looking for a new space. “That’s when I met Iris*, we chatted, she told me about this room and immediately made me an offer,” Klocker smiles. “And now I have a contract until I’m 85.” The new carving room is a quantum leap from his old little workshop in the Kühtaierhof, which many had described as a dark hole. Nevertheless, he also loved the dark room. “I was happy in there.”
*Iris Krug, the long-time manager of the Ganghofermuseum and still its eager senior boss today.
Happiness is a bird – or a wooden board and in any case the carving bench!
Happy, because there he could completely pursue his passion, carving. But even this great passion, which has shaped his life for well over 20 years, was discovered by the native from Dölsach rather by chance.
“We had a small summer cottage in Karrösten (near Imst). There I wanted to decoratively clad the roof purlins, but no one had time.”
So he simply did it himself. At that time, the trained machine fitter was still working in Landeck. There he had started at the workbench of the Krismer company and later switched to the walking table. “I always missed the manual work,” he admits. So carving came just at the right time.
Nevertheless, after the decorative boards for the purlins, it took a little while before things really got going. At the beginning of his retirement, however, Klocker was looking for a purpose. He remembered his pine boards from the Sommerhäusl, the strength they had given him, and began to carve. His first work: a figure of his granddaughter Chiara, just learning to play the flute. That’s when he was gripped by passion. And he still feels it today, with every commissioned work and every gimmick he makes just for himself. These gadgets, such as the countless large and small birds, then decorate the carving room. And make it Klocker’s second home:
“I’m really happy every day when I can be here in Leutasch.”
Spending trousers for marriage
Klocker has lived in Telfs for 40 years. He dismissed his dream of moving to the Leutasch valley for the sake of his wife Marianne. “I would love to live here, but Marianne preferred to stay in Telfs.” So now she has to do without her Hermann six days a week from morning to night. “But she can cope with that,” he says proudly and admits: “Sundays are always all hers, often the whole weekend. And then, of course, I wear the spending trousers.” He never says no to any excursion request, whether to the children or to Sankt Moritz: “Then we go wherever she likes.”
Zither and chess – playing in company
Because the passionate carver is definitely not a hermit. He likes company, enjoys it when one of his chess partners comes by the carving room. Then the carving work is put aside, the pipe is lit and the game is played. For other guests, he also likes to unpack the zither and play a little. Like carving, he has also taught himself to play the zither. He plays without fingerings or registers, but with joy and skilful passion. “Fate has probably been kind to me with my talents,” he says with a modest smile. Perhaps.
Nativity time: the most beautiful time of the year
But perhaps it is also because Klocker approaches everything with great dedication. So he is now also looking forward to a special time in the carving year, the time of the nativity scenes.
“These are my most beautiful commissions, romantic nativity scenes in a mountain landscape.”
He carves the figures, for the landscapes he looks for materials in nature. “I go for a walk every day and see what I find in nature. Then I process that with a lot of imagination.” A nice side effect is that he never loses touch with his customers because of the natural materials. “The materials I use don’t last forever, so I have to replace them every few years.” Which, of course, the 82-year-old enjoys doing, and is happy every time his work is cherished.
Klocker himself also holds many things in high regard: Above all, his talents and the chance to work in the Kulturhaus Ganghofermuseum. That is why he hopes to be able to travel to Leutasch every day for a long time to come and give something back to the region with his work in the museum:
“Because there’s always something to see with me.”
Hermann Klocker can usually be found on the first floor of the House of Culture & Ganghofermuseum during opening hours. To find him, it is best to follow the carving noises or the fine scent of the stone pine. Because that’s what he prefers to use for carving. If you don’t smell it, you will certainly be greeted by the spicy scent of the pipe instead.
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Fotos: Chris Weittenhiller, Raphael Chrysochoidis