The Journey Into Winter

As the weather finally turns colder, the feeling of winter has materialized for me. Through the challenge of windy days in the forge and frigid mornings getting started with work, I have struggled quite a bit. But I am starting to feel that this is actually really cool! The privilege to work with the world, and not insulated from it, is one I am grateful for. Although it reduces my productivity, I think I gain a greater feeling of belonging, of knowing just where my place is, or isn’t, among the remarkable workings in my corner of the world. A little esoteric sounding, I know, but with very real indicators in my life. Knowing the temperature, the timing of the sun, the moon, the direction of the wind, all these small pieces of the world that seem in fact to be the foundation of my experience as a human.

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I had to warm up the anvil this morning with a block of hot steel. It was 14ºF (-10ºC). Brrrr! 

 

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A pretty good view on my walk to work in the morning.

Even with some obstacles, I have felt pretty productive in the forge. It has been a curious sort of productivity – I am careful to let myself get distracted with new ideas and experiments. I am well aware that I am in a sort of grace period, when I am working because I choose to work, but without the expectation of making money. So, when something new strikes my fancy, it is go time!

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Women’s knives, or Viking knives as we’ve been calling them here.

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Grinding free hand is always a challenge, but it’s one I force myself to face. No jigs on this one!

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Some more collaborations with my brother Neal. The handles were beautifully crafted by him out of wood and leather.

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I have made a handful of knives recently, and my current obsession is with kitchen knives. Finding both an exciting approach from a design perspective as well as trying to achieve the ultimate kitchen tool is a challenge that I don’t think I’ll ever quite solve. But thanks to my work with Fredrik (and a love/hate relationship with the epoxy resin I use to attach the wooden handles), I’ve been trying to think outside the box a bit.

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Single-piece, steel chef knife.

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Yep, it’s done! Nothing to be added to this handle.

Besides knives, there have been a handful of other bits and pieces. I used some old and some new items to put together an offering for a winter fair in town. Not as much stock as I had imagined, but still good to have a reason for making things, other than the selfish urge to just forge.

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I think often about why I do what I do. Recently I have decided that it is more important how I go about my life rather than what I fill it with. For me the small details are important, but for my impact on the world it is the intention that I bring to my work and my interactions that has power. I hope that I, and everyone else, can find a way to leave our marks on this world and our history in a way that leads us towards greater fulfillment and meaning in our lives. It doesn’t whether those marks are large or small, just that we leave them with a smile and a hope for the future.

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