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Every so often I think I should admit defeat and give up knifemaking.… - Doug Ayen's Blacksmithing Blog [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Doug Ayen

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[Mar. 3rd, 2005|04:57 pm]
Doug Ayen
[mood |depresseddepressed]

Every so often I think I should admit defeat and give up knifemaking. I don't have the dexterity to do a lot of the things I see others pull off trivially, such as accurate hammering and fine detail work. I don't have a good memory, so I'll figure out a technique, and since I don't use it every day, forget the details when I try it again a few years later. Notes help, but a lot of this is physical stuff. Maybe I should sell off the place, buy a condo closer to work, and spend my time playing video games and watching tv like normal people.

The three hour daily commute is bad enough, but add to that a 2pm - 10pm work schedule, and there's not much time to do stuff before it's too late to make noise. Sure, I could get up earlier than 11am, but it takes me until 2am or so to unwind from work/commuting. Oh, and Thursdays I have to get up for an 8am meeting, often lasting 2 hours, and on Wednesdays I have to be in by 12:30 to prep for a meeting. Nothing like a varying schedule to mess up your sleep patterns.

Add to that the winter doldrums, an unheated workshop, and general laziness, and my lack of progress on *any* project makes me despair of ever getting good at this.

Sure, I've made some interesting stuff, but if I'm to ever do this as more than just hacking around the workshop, I need to be able to adhere to some sort of production schedule. I should be getting up early every day, hitting the workshop and making progress, not staying up late, sleeping in, and sitting on my butt too much. Sadly, I just don't seem to have the energy to pull that off.

--doug
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: folzgold
2005-03-03 03:38 pm (UTC)
I'm a student at Hampshire college, and in the general social group with people you know. They directed me to your journal, and I've been following you for a few months now. We have a blacksmithing program here, and I've been having a lot of fun reading what you're doing and thinking of projects to do on my own. I know what you mean about schedules not working in the favor of hobbies, but it would be a shame to give up something that's so good. I wanted to make knives and stuff, but soon realized how far above me it was, so I've been sticking with art pieces like forks wrapped with vines and soon I will make some hanging lanterns with my dad doing stained glass.

I just want you to know that there are those of us out here who do look up to what you're doing :)
-Jacob
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[User Picture]From: kimberlogic
2005-03-03 03:55 pm (UTC)
I have no artisan skills in this area, so I won't say that I know better than you but I will say that the knives and cleaver you've made for us have been amazing pieces of practical art. I've been continually impressed and awed by your ability to do so many different things well, and the metalwork in particular stands out. So, I hope that scheduling, energy and inspiration lead you back to it at some point.

That said, the schedule and commute sound grueling. I hate what the economy and shitty management together have done to the quality of life for so many of us.

Hang in there, please, because you're just amazing, even if you don't always feel that. And by the way, your blackberry jam was the best I've ever had!! Thank you again.

*hugs*

-Kimberly
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[User Picture]From: oh_bother
2005-03-05 07:41 am (UTC)

That's normal

I don't think I've ever replied to one of your posts, but I've been reading you for awhile.
Thanks for the great habaki link awhile back, it opened my eyes to another world.
I respect your work and your posting about it and would like to see more.
(post pictures)

I understand your doldrums.
Many times depression has been a major motivating factor for me. There is that "follow your bliss thing" where you do what makes you happy. It sounds like work is the real problem and the source of your unhappiness.

Perhaps you should concentrate MORE on blacksmithing. An unheated shop can be really rough though, you have my sympathy on that one.
Maybe your batteries need recharging. They have some weekend classes at John Campbell folk school and probably Penland too.
I have noticed that in metalsmithing, often perciverance is more important than talent.
Maybe do something very easy or small or both, something not so labor intensive.
And last, have you ever had some guy come up to you, look at your work and say,"I used to be into blacksmithing several years back". Do you want to be that guy?
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[User Picture]From: akrissy
2005-03-08 04:45 pm (UTC)
Spring is coming !!! The extra light of the day will help.
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