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Zen and the art of metalsmithing

 Dear Iris in Baltimore, thank you for reminding me how
soothing saw-piercing can be.  ie: the rhythm of competent
procedures.  There is a zen of engraving which can be
meditative ... the lovely curl of metal that spirals up from a
well cut line, & the way two cuts will meet perfectly in a
scroll... ah bliss. 

well, this is too romantic to pass up. both beautiful emotions
and lyrically stated.i too recognize that feeling of
connectedness (zen) certainly feeling it stronger at some
moments than others. however, the feeling may be approached in
many ways as in everything which we care to apply ourselves to.
for example i am often hammering metal with thoughts, in fact
vocal gestures, that expresses the relationship i have with that
piece of metal. i think of it in terms of caressing it, of
urging it to comply with the direction, force and rhythm of my
stroke. sometimes when i am distracted, the metal will react
with rejection and turn it it’s face away or react jealously and
create a situation which ends up requiring much more of my time
to soothe it and make amends. i don’t normally express that i
fell this to strangers; but in fact it is one way that i keep
connected in my work. like a child who plays with secret
invisible friends, the time is unreal and the joy of knowing
your tools , work space, as friends with strengths ,weaknesses ,
and personalities all their own, make me a better craftsman
and certainly has helped me produce a better product. sincerely,

Hey Jack- I guess you saw the post I had a few days back for what
sort of literature inspires the great metals crowd - I think I’m
adding YOU to the list!


Beginning of thread:

Jack, How interesting an approch. My teacher in Japanese Repousse
would literally file tools to shape with his eyes closed. He
could tell if you filed tip to shank or shank to tip. The only way
to creat theses tools or to file a piece of stock straight is to
see it finished long before it is. Bill in Vista

Hi Jack, My name is Kim. I agree with you about passion with the
arts.Artists are a special group.what we see,feel,or hear can
affect what we produce.if you’re in a relaxed mode,or you talk to
the tools as if they could respond,then that passion comes across
in our artform.I design “Native American” design jewelery.It’s
like you become one with the tools,and your surroundings. Have a
great day! Kim

Well, I’m all for the art of zen, but when I forge metal, forget
about zen and lyricism. It’s a good opportunity for me to vent
some frustrations and move around. In fact, if there’s something
I really can’t let go, I’ll go find something to forge, whether
it’s an order or not. I’ll pop in some hard rock or some rausty R
& B for the tempo, pop on my headphones and go to it! In the end,
I feel better and I’ve made something worthwhile.

To each his own.