What Happens AFTER The Canary In The CoalMine Dies?

Rognvaldson Spinning Wheel

corporate mindshift: management


This tiny island of  fewer than 300,000 people was the sacrificial canary in the coalmine for the global economic collapse just 3 short months ago. The Icelandic economy, laden with overseas debt of more than 10 times GDP, was the first to collapse in what will most likely be a global domino effect from the credit fallout, despite huge bailouts.


You have lost your life savings, your job and possibly, your home…what comes next?

This story is near to my heart because of my Icelandic roots…and my grandfathers story.


My grandfather, John Rognvaldson, father to 8 children, and an immigrant from Iceland, was living in Winnipegosis, Manitoba during the depression. He was a self-taught carpenter, blacksmith and all around master craftsman, who built his home using his own blueprints, without the aid of post-secondary architectural training. His primary income came from the construction of large commercial fishing vessels that he built for the commercial fisherman on Lake Winnipegosis.

One day, in the 1930’s, his shop was filled with 3 vessels ready for launch but a fisherman does not launch on a Friday. Over the weekend, the shop caught on fire and everything was lost. Because of the blacksmith equipment in the shop, he was unable to afford insurance.

At 60 years of age, with no money and children still at home to feed, he had to start his financial life over.


Icelanders are an incredibly resourceful and multi-talented group. I guess, when you have such a small population on an isolated island, you learn to be adept at many things.

My grandfather heard about a contest run by the Womens Auxiliary of Manitoba to encourage cottage industry as a means for families to make an income during the depression. Recalling the design of a spinning wheel his mother had brought from Iceland, he borrowed some carpentry tools from a friend and proceeded to design a wheel for the contest. John won the contest and his wheels were marketed through the T.Eaton catalogue.  The Rognvaldson wheel became known amongst spinners as the Cadillac of spinning wheels. Today, my father, Doug,  is the lone surviving member of the family who still totally handcrafts this wheel.


Icelanders are taking a similar path to rebound from the devastating impact of their economic collapse.

Helga Jona, owner of a craft supply shop called Nalin in Reykjavik, is finding her business is exploding. She says Icelanders are returning to their traditional crafts as a way to survive. Shops that had previously carried imports from Europe are now carrying new Icelandic arts and crafts… and the tourists are buying in large quantities.

“And in a sense, the financial collapse has gotten young people busy,” Ms. Eysosdottir says. “They have realized that they can’t just be on Facebook all day; that if they want to survive, they’re going to have to use their creativity and start making things to sell.” – Rabeika Messina, Christian Science Monitor, March 6,2009


(note: Bless Bless is a traditional Icelandic salutation)


If you know a company that is making a Mindshift towards serving humanity while still turning a profit, we would like to know about them. Let us know by contacting::
attractingsuccess@soulabundant.com... or leave the information in the comments section of this post.

Organizational Behaviour Consultant

author: Imagine Your Soul Abundant: Attracting Success, Fulfillment and True Happiness
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