What is it about watching craftspeople work? I am mesmerized by their focus and dexterity, and when they manipulate difficult and sometimes dangerous materials it appears magical to me. Many years ago and just out of art school, I worked as a fabricator at a sculpture foundry located in the Hudson Valley in New York. Such places are inherently treacherous; they are loaded with heavy machinery and vats of molten metal. The day starts at 4 a.m. so as to avoid the afternoon heat, and the high-pitched screaming of grinding and cutting is deafening. People get hurt, sometimes badly, and I myself was covered at all times with small scars from burns and cuts. Man, did I love that job.
Since then I’ve become a producer and editor of video, but I’ve never forgotten how good it felt to work like that. While you may label this film as “branded entertainment” it’s still, well, entertaining, and in a lovely sort of way. It features Latvian craftsmen employing traditional tool making techniques that have survived centuries. These guys strive for uniqueness and forge their souls into one-of-a-kind tools. I’m comforted by the fact that people like this continue to exist, and by watching them I’m reminded that taking one’s time is in itself a lost art.
Shot beautifully and paced leisurely, this short film demonstrates exactly what I imagined my career as a craftsman could be – fire, iron and a quiet, snowy log cabin. Oh, yeah.