The Queue: John Hermanson
Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.
Limber Bows inventor John Hermanson moves through the world by design.
For John Hermanson, necessity was the mother of invention. In 2017, while hiking a perilously steep ridge in the North Cascade Mountains in Washington, the Bozeman, Montana–based musician found a semicircular, flexible stick that he used to loft himself gently downhill to safety. The experience was so powerful for Hermanson that when he was back home he resolved to find a similar commercial product. When he couldn’t, he set about making his own, researching wood varieties and their unique properties. Today Limber Bows, his spin on hiking poles, are individually handcrafted on a backyard bower’s bench with four layers of wood, two layers of fiberglass, and one layer of carbon fiber. Each set is numbered and built to the buyer’s measurements. After a smashing debut at the 2023 Outdoor Retailer trade show, Hermanson also has plans to mass-produce them with a manufacturing partner. Frank Bures wrote about Hermanson and his Limber Bows—and three other crafters of innovative outdoors gear—in “Adventure Craft” in the Summer 2023 issue of American Craft.
Which craft artists, exhibitions, or projects do you think the world should know about, and why?
I’m a big fan of Chad Elliott. He’s in equal parts singer-songwriter, poet, painter, and sculptor. I love his work and I love the way he makes it work. Chad just opened a new studio in Jefferson, Iowa. The first weekend of August brings SLAM Festival (August 5–6) and Sweet Pea Festival (August 4–6) to my hometown of Bozeman, Montana. Both festivals gather together an impressive variety of craft and music.
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