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Guest Tai

Maybe You'll Understand (long post)

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I've been taking a hard look at my knifemaking, this bit of introspection started when Dale Baxter asked me a simple question, "what type of knifemaker do you want to be?"  That night I laid awake then wandered into my shop to look at patterns, drawings and half completed knives and sheaths until 230 am. Then I reread Mr Fogg's "The Way" on his site.  

 

I've been searching to find an artistic "anchor", then I remembered a book of prints that struck a chord with me.  I went on an internet search for this artist that plucked my strings.  Found a site with several of his prints, I knew I'd found the "anchor."

 

Hokusai was an artist in fuedal Japan, most famous for "The Great Wave" print.  What a lot of people don't know is that this artist worked in several media, changed his name over 30 times (unheard of a lower caste to name themselves) and moved over 90 times in his life.  This man epitomizes the searching artist.  

 

My favorite Hokusai print is "Boy at Mount Fuji", the bold lines and angles in it just hit me "like a diamond bullet to the center of my forehead."  I've really taken a hard look at my mark, it's a handwritten "WL", it's just a mark that says "I made this" there's now why or anything else in it.  I've worked a stylized "Boy at Mount Fuji" that I'm going to use as a maker's mark now.  My maker's mark instead of declaring "Will Leavitt" made this will declare the journey I'm making as an artist.

 

Some of my customers may not understand, some makers won't understand, I'm pretty sure my wallet won't understand but someone will pick up one of my blades and they'll know.  Sorry for the babble but I needed to get this out to someone.

 

Will

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Guest Tai
It's so important to ask yourself that question "What type of knifemaker do I want to be?". I ask myself that all the time, if it changes, I go with it. I don't like the question, "What type of knifemaker should I be?". I should be the kind I want to be. You have to be true to yourself, not much else matters in the end. This may sound like an easy thing, but I can assure you that it isn't, and not many people have the "BALLS" for it. First, you have to know yourself,... really know yourself. This means looking at the positive AND the negative. It's very tricky business to be honest with yourself.

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Guest Tai

It's a lot of work but...

 

Who am I?

What am I?

Where did I come from?

How did I get here?

Why am I here?

 

What type of blade do I want to make "today"?  

How do I want to make it?

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Will, I have to agree with Tai, you HAVE to make the knives you want to make. when I first learned to make folders and forge steel from Wayne Valachovic years ago Wayne gave me what is probably the best advice I've ever recieved concerning knifemaking he said "make the knives you want to make , make the knives that will make you happy", now after 12 years of being a fulltime maker I realize how good that advice was. We all need an "anchor" some makers just take longer to find that anchor.

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Guest Tai
I think it is good to look to outside sources for inspiration, but there comes a time when you need to just "shut it all out" and focus inwards.

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Guest Tai

WoW!!!

 

Did I say that?

 

I think I'm just about ready to take some of my own whacky advice! Thanks Dude!!!  :D

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[dunno]   Tai I was kinda surprised you said that too since you've always come across as the "see a leaf, forge a knife" artist.

 

I tried turning my radios off while working last nite.  It was an interesting experience.  The contact of the hammer and hot steel sounded very different.  I'm going to try to forge and complete a knife without a radio to see if it has a different "vibe".

 

Thanks for being my sounding board guys.

Will

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" This means  looking at the positive AND the negative. It's very tricky business to be honest with yourself. "

 

You are so right Tai...it's downright frightening. I think some of my better work came from the "dark side"...know what i mean?... hard to explain, but it came from exploring inward, looking at what makes me what i am....and well, generally I still don't know.

 

But I do know what I like to make, and I agree wholeheartedly that concentrating on what you like, or makes you happy, pays off the biggest dividends in the long run.

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Guest Tai

Things change, people change,... that's the hard part. What was right for us yesterday, might not be right today. If we get too committed then we fear change. I contradict myself, but that's just the way life is. It has nothing to do with right or wrong.

 

Go with what you feel today, NOW !!!

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