At the studio we have a very straightforward way of distinguishing between art and craft. We do the Art – you do the Craft. Essentially what that means is: if the object of your desire has a function, well then we invite you to make it yourself (with our help of course). Having said that we seem to have run out of time lately, it seems that there simply isn’t enough hours in the week to devote to the human endeavors in tool making. How did that happen?
Homo sapiens affiliation with tools goes back millions of years. That people are still preoccupied with it – I have proof of. Since I started teaching how to forge objects of function back in 2010, people from all walks of life just keep coming – men, women, young and old. About 1500 participants so far over the years, what a blast! Our 2010 to 2016 blacksmith-course series evolved on a demand / supply basis… Once I realised the interest, my creative brain went into overdrive and the ideas just kept coming. The following are images of some of the projects you could sign up for on our courses (some are still going strong don’t worry!) The principle is simple, what man needs – man makes:
Starting with the basics. Need to chop some wood.
Need to carry the logs.
Need to light a fire.
Need a Fire Brazier.
Need to rake the fire.
Need something to eat.
Need to cook it
And serve it.
And eat it.
And a little superstitious…
Open the door please
I’ll clean my boots first
And now for somewhere to hang up my hat….
And my scarf…
Yes, it needs to rake, to hold the candle, to the carry the logs. But the most important factor is that if you made it, with your own hands, it’s no longer just the function that matters, its the fact that IT HAS SOUL. The object may not be worth much in monetary value and it may not be pretty, but that’s not the point. The point is it’s yours. For that very reason you will keep it, use it, cherish it for the rest of your life, maintain it, hang it on the wall, admire it, boast about it etc etc :)
From the right side of the anvil its easy to judge why there’s currently such a flurry of interest in artisan products and the making of them. But the fact is that I am myself incurably addicted to making. Just try and keep me away from the forge for a couple of weeks and I become gloomy, bad-tempered and frankly bored. I’m not surprised to find I’m not the only one! Homo Sapiens are not meant for monotony and re-petition, for office chairs and laptops. That’s for sure. I personally got bitten by the making-bug already as a teenager when a friend of mine showed me how to carve a spoon from the branch of a tree…
As mentioned earlier our studio has become busier creating art these days, and so for us the golden era of function indulgence has diminished… So if you find yourself ‘desperate to make’ I strongly recommend a forge at home. Fill your house with functional art! I will be posting the occasional how to / make it yourself on this blog, based on the above mentioned course projects. I am hoping this will inspire you to keep up the making. If you partook in any of the workshops over the years:
You can still participate in a workshop at the Calnan & Anhoj Forge (narrowed down to the three most popular ones). But beware… you might get hooked!