Creating Every Day

Make something with your hands every day, some wisdom from Mahatma Gandhi.  It has been my goal for a long time now to follow this creed and it makes me happy nearly every day; even if it is something small, it is a small victory.

Its a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Lest we forget what makes us human.

Casual Turtle Campers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you are looking for a topper or small camper with some class, check out Casual Turtle Campers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the website:

The idea for Casual Turtle Campers was conceived by Peter Pavlowich in the summer of 2010. On a road trip to Colorado, he noticed an abundance of truck campers but a profound lack of variety or style.  As a Wood Construction and Design graduate from the University of Idaho, he believed he could design and build a simple and attractive alternative to the big, heavy, white boxes that he seemed to see everywhere. Over the next few years, Peter slowly and methodically brought together ideas and drew up plans for what would eventually become the design for Casual Turtle Campers. 

He very happily lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife, Lindsey, and their dog/shop foreman, Moxie.  We love when people stop by – just get in touch!

http://casualturtlecampers.com/

Robin Wood, Traditional Craftsman

Here’s another excellent video of Robin Wood, wood turner and traditional craftsman.  Visit his website to learn more about this remarkable man and his admirable career choice.  As he explains, his job is easy to describe while so many careers are just about impossible to explain what one does and we create fancy titles to describe what we do all day.

His website is: http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.com/

Woven Backpacks – Design Rooted in History and Tradition

Another reblog. Markus has done an excellent review of pack baskets here.

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Its fair to say that my personal interest in woven Mexican Huarache footwear extends to everything woven. As far as I know despite all the technological advances in history, woven Huaraches just like woven baskets cannot be made by machine and have to be made by hand. In someways this makes basketry and Huarache weaving one of the highest forms of craft.

For more information on the craft of Mexican Huarache footwear please visit Huarache Blog.

Although basketry is one of the earliest forms of craft in the world, its unclear how long woven Basket Packs have existed for, but many old designs are still used in many countries around the world.

Some old paintings and prints help trace Basket Packs to 1400-1500’s.

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Images via Wood Trekker: A Brief History of the Modern Backpack (Comments Section)

The Adirondack Pack Basket as it is known today is traditionally made…

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Craft Fetishism or A Return to Craft Values?

74 FOOTWEAR DESIGN CONSULTING

There’s been a noticeable increase in crafted products over the last 5 years.

From Artisan Bread, Chocolate and Beer to handcrafted bicycles, bags and belts. Crafts have been celebrated in books, documentaries and Design fairs. Artists like Joana Vasconcelos have adopted crafts such as crochet and lace for their chosen media, and even graffiti has taken a crafted turn with new techniques in stenciling and knit-bombing. With significant developments in progressive crafts such as digicraft, many industrial designers are also turning to craft values instead of the traditional industrial ones.

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But why is it that in today’s increasingly technological culture is there also such a strong crafts vibe?

A successful exhibition titled POWER OF MAKING  at the V&A in London recently celebrated this craft resurgence and presented some reasons for it. A few of the exhibiting artists, designers and craftspeople like Ji Yong-Ho and Demakersvan have already…

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New Acquisitions

I don’t buy a lot of tools but this past week added one old, one new, and created one to add to my pile.

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I found this old shoe anvil at out local pawn shop/junk store last weekend and couldn’t pass it up.  It will help with my ever increasing level of shoemaking and might just serve as a rivet set for other leather projects.

ImageI used an Amazon gift card I received for christmas to purchase a Mora curved knife I’ve had on my wish list for some time.  I can’t wait to start making spoons again.

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And finally, I have nearly finished a buck-saw that’s been lingering in my mind for some time now.  This is it assembled, having sawed a log just to be sure it worked, but lots of finishing touches will need to be added to be a suitable tool.  I’ll round the edges and spruce it up with some carving I think, but for now, it makes a nice take-down saw.  Total spent: about $20 US.

The Shoemaker

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A real treat from the Sifting the Past blog.  It is worth checking out if you are interested in researching the past through images of the period just prior to mass industrialization.  The Townsend’s have a couple excellent websites including an interesting 18th century cooking blog with videos.  There is so much in this painting that describes the time and the craft of the cordwainer.  There is a palm awl and lasting pinchers in the lower right, the ever critical strap for holding the shoe while sewing, the sewer’s palm for pulling tight the lock stitch, as well as the hammer, mallet, and knife of the trade.  He is holding the sole awl in his left hand.  The basket on the work bench contains a great bone tool made from a metapodial bone as so often found prior to the 20th century when craftsmen made their own tools.  I want my shop to look this great sometime soon.

Huaracheria Aquino in Yalalag, Oaxaca (reblogged)

This is a great series of photos of a surviving craft still producing their own leather. This maintains an economy (for them) that could have very little cash outflow, replacing the cost of raw materials with labor. I hope these industries survive.

A great photo of a huarachero from the series.

Huarache Blog

Nestled into the Sierra Norte mountains of Oaxaca is the small town of Yalalag.

Yalalag is very precious town, not only for it’s strong Pre-Hispanic traditions, but also because like only a handful of other small towns in Mexico, most of the Yalalag population is still dedicated to the traditional craft of Huarache making.

Huaracheria Aquino is the largest ‘Taller’ workshop in Yalalag and they are well known for their high quality Zapotec Huaraches.

What also sets this family run business apart from most other Huarache makers in Mexico is that their crafting process begins at their in-house tannery, where they vegetable tan all their leathers to their precise specifications.

Huaracheria Aquino is famous for their traditional women’s Zapotec Yalalag sandals (the only existing traditional women’s leather sandal/huarache style in Mexico).

Photo of young Zapotec Woman in Mitla, by Guy Stresser-Péan, 1957

Their ‘Tejido’ Huarache also stands out for the…

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