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.

Cobblers

A reblog from the Northwest Woodworking Studio.

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Shavings

Cobblers
This letter was sent to me by an old friend.

Hi, Gary!

May I give you a story, as promised?

The story is told that if you were a young person in medieval France embarking on a spiritual quest, if you were fortunate you might meet up with someone older, perhaps a teacher, who would say this to you: I think I understand what you are seeking. Let me give you the name of someone I know, a cobbler, in Dijon. I think that it might work out well if you were to become his apprentice. If that happens, let me give you one piece of advice. Don’t talk with him about spiritual matters; just let him teach you how to make shoes.

So, time passes, and you find yourself in Dijon, and you seek out the cobbler. Sure enough, as it works out, you become his apprentice.

Years…

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Tinsmiths, a short film and a longer one…

A short film about a great craftsman.  I like this one because the project documented here is so unusual.  The almost forgotten art of the tinsmith.

 

And a longer one that is really worth watching.  It’s a treat to see someone who knows his business so well.  A dying breed of traditional artisan.

“This is a video of County Mayo native Ted Maughan demonstrating his immense skills as a Tinsmith. Ted is a member of the travelling community and has kept this great craft alive for many years. His work is a credit to him and this is only a small example of the quality work that Ted is able to carry out.”

We just don’t value the artisan or craftsman the way we one did.  The Industrial Revolutions have wrecked havoc in our culture.

Instead of this:

the-tinsmith-1385932752_bWe opt for outsourcing, mechanizing, and abstracting our purchase.  These days, for now, are lost in the Industrial world.

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Medieval Tinsmith

Tinsmiths were the sheet metal workers of the preindustrial days in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  This almost certainly includes Africa as well but I haven’t been able to find any depictions yet.  These craftsmen created many everyday objects and mended all sorts of metal.

75-Amb-2-317-82-r.tifHere we see a smith creating a flask.  I doubt he would be whacking it from that height but old images of carpenters and smiths use this convention to show the movement.  Behind him are some of his wares including a pitcher, something shaped like a bottle, and a pile of funnels.  A stack of prepared metal sheets sits on a table next to him.

75-Amb-2-317-155-v.tifThe lantern maker has more great tools.  He is set up in front of the window for light.  His work surfaces are stumps but his bench is a fancy trestle type, not the typical tenon leg affair one normally sees from this period of history.  In this image, the smith is in the act of soldering the base onto the lantern.  This is the oldest image I have found, so far, of a soldering iron in use.  The little three-legged pot on the floor is a brazier, holding coals to heat the iron and he has a pretty nifty stake tool on the bench.  I think it’s a shears but please correct me if I’m wrong on that one.