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Sole maker vs collaborative effort


Geoff Keyes

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Having opened a can of worms with the "Intellectual Property" thread, I have another for the group.

 

The collector world, which many of us participate in, is attracted to the "Sole Author" style of piece. I find it hard to be "all things to all men". I suspect that there is not enough time left in my life to become an engraver, and while I might some day be good enough at leather work to satisfy myself, I prefer to find leather smiths that I can work with and use their work to enhance mine.

 

In the Japanese tradition, pretty much all of the separate parts of a blade were made by different skilled craftsmen, and the consumers of the work knew that, and bought with that in mind. I'm betting that the European sword makers were the same way, working collaboratively to produce the best pieces.

 

Do we just need to educate our buyers? Or is the idea of Sole Authorship too embedded in the market?

 

I understand that we are all independent folks, if we weren't, we'd be working in teams already. And the truth is, I like taking a piece from idea to finish, but, could we be more "successful" in a collaborative environment?

 

If one could find a few similarly minded folks, maybe that would advance the craft, making a better market for everyone, makers, users, and collectors.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Geoff

"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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Basically its all good.

I have a very personal style with my own adornment and its quite minimal I like it (strangely enough)

I have had pieces that have been taken way beyond that by other craftsmen, with great results and I always find that exiting .

forging soul in to steel

 

owenbush.co.uk

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  • 3 weeks later...

Geoff,

 

You know you have the answer you really are looking for already the project that is in the works we are working on . For example the billet was done,the drawing was something in the shape you were not really into as a personal design ,however you did an Awesome job making it . like you it is hard not to build anything from start to finish as we as craftsmen tend to think others will not get the idea we want to portray in the final project . while working with other folks to accomplish a build project is not what hardly any of want to do (as we want to become established on our own merit & works ) it does let us work together and make wonderful things and many times work out of our comfort zone and press us to do new things.

 

"Do we just need to educate our buyers? Or is the idea of Sole Authorship too embedded in the market?"

I think it is really up to the Buyer as long as they know up front it is done by a collaboration of folks as an end result of a product they want . No one really says they built a truck or car yet many people help build it under one name I.E. Ford ,Chevy ,Dodge, and Ect.

 

Sam

Robert D. Yates , 13 & On Forge

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With the idea of Ford, Chevy, etc. in mind, Boeing makes almost none of its own pieces. They farm out the work to hundreds of small, medium and large shops in the Seattle area, and buy larger pieces from specialty manufacturers (GE and others). But we call it a Boeing 747.
I guess I question I haven't asked when we talk about this topic is: has anyone asked about authorship? Or is this something you're thinking about because you're in the MS process?

There's no need to tell the customer anything, really, but as we're folks who can be honest to a fault it may benefit the conscience to mention the sub-contractors. It may also be a benefit to the sub-contractor who might want the recognition. On a couple of the knives I sold/traded I said I would include a "starter sheath"- something that was functional (and really at the limit of my ability with my knowledge and skills) but not particularly attractive. That may be a way to go on sole-authorship pieces, with mention of the sheath maker included in those even-higher-end pieces.

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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Well Said Topher, I agree with you .

 

Sam

Robert D. Yates , 13 & On Forge

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While there are craftsmen that enjoy and place value on learning and doing all aspects of their work, my experience is that it's mostly a buzz word to entice the clients. About the same as the word "artisan" The words really only have value among ourselves. Most clients don't care who or how it was made. What they care about, in order of importance: How it looks, price, how well it was crafted. If it meets those requirements, any other information is just icing on the cake.
There are exceptions, but less then most would think. Of course what trumps all, is a reputation that causes folks to buy your product and then brag about who made it.

 

Cynical bastard aren't I?




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I would suggest that it could be done well, if you formed a coalition, or guild, or co-op, and marketed the results under that name, with bios on the craftsmen involved. Rather than, Knife by X, Y, and Z, it's Knife by Us... where Us is more than the individual smiths.

 

Out here in Virginia, we're toying with just such an idea. Stay tuned.

The Tidewater Forge

Christopher Price, Bladesmith

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I would suggest that it could be done well, if you formed a coalition, or guild, or co-op, and marketed the results under that name, with bios on the craftsmen involved. Rather than, Knife by X, Y, and Z, it's Knife by Us... where Us is more than the individual smiths.

 

Out here in Virginia, we're toying with just such an idea. Stay tuned.

Brilliant idea. Increases production quantities and, if you've got the right people involved, quality. Makes me wish I knew more local smiths and craftsmen.

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I would suggest that it could be done well, if you formed a coalition, or guild, or co-op, and marketed the results under that name, with bios on the craftsmen involved. Rather than, Knife by X, Y, and Z, it's Knife by Us... where Us is more than the individual smiths.

 

Out here in Virginia, we're toying with just such an idea. Stay tuned.

 

Kinda reminds me of what Dave and Andy were doing with Mad Dwarf, or the guys at Autine. Cool stuff

“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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When it comes to the collector world.. I think that if everybody involved in a collaborative project share the same 'power of name' then collectors are happy and willing. I can see a negative attitude perhaps to making a beautiful knife and then farming the sheath work out to an unknown, mediocre leather bender perhaps. But collectors love.. say... a John White dagger with a Paul Long sheath. Or a Jerry Fisk bowie with engraving done by.. ugh.. somebody good. :rolleyes:

 

But having said this.. Yes.. I do think there is a favored attitude towards to the do-it-all maker. Understandably I think. I'm personally blown away by some of the makers out there. For example.. the 21 year old kid who made these just got back from engraving school :o (Kyle Royer)

 

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