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A short statement on how it all works


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I came across this quote on the pipemakers' forum, and thought it would be good for everyone here to see as well, so I unapologetically swiped it. :)

 

From Ira Glass (who produces This American Life on public radio.):

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

 

Original quote in context can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI23U7U2aUY . It refers to storytelling/writing, but I think it's equally applicable to what we do, or try to do. B)

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Alan, thanks for that. It's something I've known for a long time, but it always helps to hear it from an independent source once in a while. :)

 

-Todd

www.toddblades.com

 

"Geometry says how sharp, steel says how long." - Roman Landes, Ashokan 2009

 

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

 

- George Orwell

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Man, that's encouraging! I don't think I've made one knife so far that I've liked. Thanks for that.

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”

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That would explain why I hate all my work, and why I keep fighting the urge to quit every time I see someone make something amazing and so out of my reach.

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These are words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing them, Alan.

 

I think this is why humility is a good virtue for any craftsman or artist. Pride is what causes you to stop pushing, stop creating the next piece after the piece you just created failed to live up to the vision in your head.

 

Humility is that part of yourself that accepts the failure to accomplish 100% of what you envisioned, but still move on to the next piece and move one step closer to the goal of making real that which your vision imagines.

 

I have yet to create anything that I don't see as flawed in some significant way from the initial concept.

 

Good stuff bud.

 

--Dave

-----------------------------------------------

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

http://stephensforge.com

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I have made a few things that were good enough!! for me they were as good as they could be. when this happens it is like the piece takes on a life of its own , it becomes better than what went into making it. I guess from this perspective these pieces jump out because they dive into the personal realm of finally being expectable.

only a few things mind in 17 years.......

good taste is a curse .

I find buying and owning stuff to be a constant disappointment , I can never afford to own the stuff I would like , that is if it exists in the first place.....

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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The downside to all this, is that taste developes too, so in that respect taste and skill don't always converge to the point where you're really happy with your work :unsure: Which is a good thing though, as it keeps you moving forwards. There is another side to this though. You may not be happy with the shortcomings in your eyes of what you've created, but the trick is to learn and be content with the good things in every creation. Something may never be good enough. But work onto something until it's as good as it gets, and when any further work doesn't make it better, be happy with what it is for this moment. If you want to climb the Mount Everest, it's much more fun if you can enjoy climbing all the smaller peaks until you're ready for the final one, rather then just not being happy that they're not as high. Consider everything a practice piece for the next one, as each creation is a crucial step towards your future work.

Jeroen Zuiderwijk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/barbarianmetalworking

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I have made many things that were as good as they could be that day. Never completely satisfied is a good thing, but never satisfied at all is not. One has to learn when to quit, especially if you are trying to make a living out of the craft. "When is it done" ? is sometimes the most critical question to answer for yourself.

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It took me at least a dozen knives (maybe more) before I would post one on this forum... a place where good taste rules supreme.

 

Perfect? No.

Flaws? Yes.

 

But I was pleased with the end result.

 

I'm sure that I won't think so highly of it five years from now, but it is leaps and bounds from five years ago.

 

Good post Alan. That's why I come here.

 

Don

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I'm not the only one who read that in Ira Glass' voice- right? :\ Thanks for posting that, it's a unique perspective on personal progress (or seeming lack thereof). And it's a good reminder that I need to go back to some of the pipe forums I used to lurk :)

Kristopher Skelton, M.A.

"There was never a good knife made from bad steel"

A quiet person will perish ~ Basotho Proverb

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good one Alan. I'm rarely happy with anything I finish, it's always a compromise, I think it's the striving towards the imagined object that is what makes it worth while, and endlessly exciting, there is always a point where you have to decide to be done. and run off towards the next cliff, arms flapping :rolleyes:

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I'm not too sure I agree entirely with the taste thing.

 

Certainly everyone knows that they like what they like, but can't always put their finger on why they do. I have been guilty of it and I have had to learn to empty my cup and everytime it feels like I am refusing to do so I just force myself to do it again if I can or suffer the consequences later on.

 

One thing I have realised in my training with tsuba making is that many times we are quick to dismiss work that doesn't necessarily appeal aesthetically to us for several reasons, but we fail to see the lessons that we can learn from doing a master-copy of these works. If you do stick at it tho, your reward comes in the form of a better ability to to assimilate nuance and proper form, and the more you cover a classical repertoire the better your reading gets of these subtle things that make a master work be what is it. This is why I can understand why people like Jeroen or Patrick Barta are such sticklers for correct form, or historical accuracy, whether they are doing it for those reasons or not it doesn't matter to me.

 

As I like to put it, only once you learn basic words can you make beautiful poems (or prose if you prefer), and it is much that way with everything. I really have lost all interest (not respect) in people who will just go for 'originality' and 'self expression' before they have even bothered to understand the works of ancient masters (I don't always count contemporary ones), a lot of the times what I find is really behind that attitude is a fear of finding themselves inadequate because their efforts or studies might come short of the original master-work.

 

Still just to throw another thought in there, I think it was Basho who said it: "don't seek to copy the ancients, rather seek what they sought" (still don't read that as license to dismiss building up a basic understanding of what you are doing and how to do it)

 

 

I find buying and owning stuff to be a constant disappointment , I can never afford to own the stuff I would like , that is if it exists in the first place.....

 

Owen, many of the people here and in other fora like these produce very fine things worthy of breaking the bank for, so at least some of it does exist. Paying for it is a totally different matter.

Edited by Hÿllyn

Grey hair and alopecia are signs of age, not of wisdom...

Rósta að, maðr!

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Still just to throw another thought in there, I think it was Basho who said it: "don't seek to copy the ancients, rather seek what they sought" (still don't read that as license to dismiss building up a basic understanding of what you are doing and how to do it)

 

Wise words indeed, and the foundation (one of them, anyway) of Fiery-Beardedness. B)

 

I also agree that "taste" may not be the right word. I think of it as more along the lines of trying to make the reality of your work meet the initial vision.

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