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Guest Tai

Which way?

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Guest Tai
To me, the way is the "process" as opposed to the "product" or blade in this case. The smith uses the "way" to create the blade and in a very real sense uses the way to create himself. The smith becomes the product. There is more than one way. The way is individual. It is tailored to the smith. It is a way of life, a finger print and a journey of the soul. I figure there are at least 10,000 decisions a smith has to make each time he makes a blade. Which way is your way?

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Guest Tai
Is "which way?", the same as "which how?" ?

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I am finding a Zen consciousness, a flow in my work. The knives seem to make themselves, almost.

Something that I have noticed is that a spent a tremendous amount of time making and acquiring my tools before I actually set to work whanging out blades on an anvil. That was part of the path, too. By the time I had invested all that effort in "preliminaries" I had the skills and confidence I needed.

By the way, Tai, you taught me how to make my first forge, damascus and mokume gana in a class at Pima Community College. Thanks!

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Guest Tai

It's a small world, getting smaller.

 

Hammer on! :)

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I wonder if there really are different ways or if it's a single path that's just wide enough for us all to wander a bit.  

 

Afterall we do seem to keep running into other folks with common goals and practices.  We seem to modify our practices based on things we learn from each other in forums like this.

 

My experiences suggest that we are all much more alike than different.  I find this fascinating in the absence of a formal training program like the old artisan guilds that proposed to refine the life of the artist as well as maintain the craft.  I would also suggest that the common values we are searching for in this conversation are much more common amongst smiths across cultures than different.  The evidence for that is the ability to "talk smith" with other smiths in spite of no common verbal ability.

 

If our work speaks for us, then the work is the reflection of the person rather than the definition.  

 

I will always argue that titles, degrees, pieces of paper, laws, licenses do not define professionalism.  I do not argue that these things are valueless.  It takes a great deal of luck, hard work whatever you want to invest in those things to earn many of them.  But they do not define the person.  These things cannot reflect the person, they are the world's attempt to define the person.  Example:  how many times is the second question after who are you? is so, what do you do?

 

Professionalism is a state of mind not bound by external things.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, too many think that the external things are more important.  And, most folks seem to have lost the ability to look at a knife we've made and then really look again and see the art/craft/practice that is the real effort of our attempt.  

 

Lest anyone think that knives are the end all and be all.  The practice of the way begins to intrude into all the things that one does.  The summary evidence for this way shows itself in all the many things that you practice.  I'd be willing to bet that each of you reading this does many more things than "just make knives."  I would suggest the discussions of music, the photos and so on present here are also reflections of the way.

 

Food for thought?

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Guest Tai
I believe that there is only one Way, but within the way there are an infinated number of points. It's a giant circle with all points connected and equal. It gives the apearance of many different ways only because we can't see over the top or around the bend. We each enter the circle at different points which establishes our path or direction. We each pick up different things on the path which makes us individuals. We interpret the way differently. If we keep moving forward on the path we are on, we eventually come full circle and find ourselves back at the place we started. The key is to never stop moving forward. If we stop, we never see what's over the top or around the bend.

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