Farm Handcrafts in Naturns
Fam. Walter Schnitzer
- Figures made from old wood
- Decorative items for indoors and outdoors
- Custom-made products
Above Naturns on the Vinschgau Sonnenberg, at 670 metres above sea level, sits Pardellhof farm run by the Schnitzer family. There have been traces of settlements here stretching back over 1000 years, and Pardellhof has been linked to the name of the Schnitzer family for over 200 years. An inscription from the old panelled parlour dating back to 1767 serves as a reminder of this. Walter Schnitzer works around 3 hectares of fruit trees and half a hectare of sloping vineyard on this soil so steeped in history that enjoys wonderful views across the Vinschgau valley basin. The farm also features a mill, which is not in operation today, and 6 hectares of woodland. This is where the creative farmer finds the material for his unusual figures made from old wood.
“The search for a special piece of wood is a fascinating task“, says the farmer, giving insight into his work. It is mainly old chestnut and oak wood that he comes across in the farm forest on the Vinschgau Sonnenberg that inspires him to make new creations. How he achieves the results still remains a secret. “I work with what each piece suggests to me. Inspiration for my ideas usually comes to me while I'm working“, he explains with a grin on his face. This is how a wide variety of decorative items that go well with flowers, candles or fruit come into being.
In Walter Schnitzer's opinion, nature is the real artist. “I consider myself to be an intermediary at the most“, he explains modestly. Thanks to the variety of the material, wood, there are countless possibilities for creating things. This captivated the farmer even as as a child. “At the time I was looking for special pieces of wood in the forest to make my first crib – and found them.“ Pursuing new paths is what fascinates him about working with wood. “As I'm not bound to a particular shape and size, I can let my imagination run free and produce tailor-made items for customers, too“, he is happy to report. Unadulterated, natural gifts that are a little bit different are his speciality.
A variety of different manual milling machines and brushes are employed in his works of art, which the farmer uses at his bench or in the open air in front of the house. They are there to sand and clean the wood as well as to give it shape. The keen artisan puts it in a nutshell: “The challenge lies in preserving the special character of each piece and bringing out certain forms and patterns in the wood“. This results in fascinating unique items. However, sometimes the wood can break. Walter Schnitzer enjoys using the wood of the chestnut tree, which dries on the tree and does not go rotten. Oak wood is well known on the other hand for its special grain, and finding some of this is simply “a question of luck”.
From Meran, drive in the Naturns direction. At Plaus, turn off right after Gasthof Mondschein into Fallrohrweg and carry on to the Weintal snack bar. From there, Pardellhof may be reached after going up the hill for about 1 km.