“The world of the craft begins and ends with the visionary, the endless dram of trial-and-error they drink daily and the skills — tested by repetition, resurgence, and research — they meet out. With each new piece, another round of experience layers the artist’s repertoire: This is where wisdom gestates.” - Ashley Childs
Walking into an artist’s shop can feel a bit unnerving: at once welcome and decidedly out of place, you are a visitor in their private world, a creative sacred space where they work — whether an hour a day or 18 — to bring concept to conception, make manifest vision, and inflame shared passion.
Maybe they have keepsake postcards covering their walls, old magnets on a refrigerator door, its handle worn rough from decades of use. Their windowsills might be layered in tiny tchotchkes they picked up from around the world — delicate reminders of the places they’ve been, of the vast depth and breadth of their imaginings’ range. Small pockets of dust — bits of skin and starfall — collect in forgotten corners, arising in whirling dervishes at the slightest breath of foreign movement. At your feet, lies a pile of rusted tools, amidst scraps of white paper covered in notes, ideas, sketches. These creative incantations feel private, somehow revealing some soft underbelly of vulnerability and soul.
The artist — whose craft has been shaped for decades inside these comforting walls of memory and slanted sun, the rusty warmth of wooden floors and old tools enveloping — gracefully maneuvers these spaces like a second skin, navigating tools and supplies like so many everyday trappings. They scurry a well-worn path around each object, forever remaking a puzzle old as time. Each tool has its place. The clinking and clanking of their creation sing their syncopated opus.
Today, they transform scrapyard metals and old whiskey barrels into refined stabilized handles — inlaid with gold or lapis — the metal reheated a dozen times over before finding grace under the grinder, revealing the possibility of a beautiful and functional knife. The dust on the floor almost feels sacred in this space, resplendent with tiny metal scraps shimmering like gold and diamonds; it will be swept up and away with the remains of the day as the light fades. Only to be forged again tomorrow.
The world of the craft begins and ends with the visionary, the endless dram of trial-and-error they drink daily and the skills — tested by repetition, resurgence, and research — they meet out. With each new piece, another round of experience layers the artist’s repertoire: This is where wisdom gestates. The making is a sort of sacred dance between these hallowed walls; what an honor it is to bear witness, if but for a few hours, to this brand of fortitude, perseverance, and deliverance. To the emergence of the maker’s vision, from mere metal and wood to life.