I’m proud to post the final episode of Kirsten Dirksen’s three part documentary she filmed in one day this past winter when she was visiting from Barcelona, home base for her company, faircompanies.com. This is my favorite one and I think it does a wonderful job of presenting the core of my Deep Craft philosophy. I especially appreciate her featuring my Deep Deck so prominently, which I’m poised to launch this summer at Storefront Lab in San Francisco through a three week pop-up store project I’m calling Deep Craft Atelier (more about this soon).
To watch the video on Kirsten’s site, read her commentary and link to her other video productions featuring “community and access to tools on sustainable culture”, please click here.
I was lucky enough to grow up with things made by both of my grandfathers- some simple furnishings, a fishing tackle box, fly rod and cribbage board. Neither of my grandfathers earned their livings as carpenters, but they did share a generational disposition towards frugality and were clearly raised with more than a layman’s facility with woodcraft. Both died while I was still a small child, but the things they made continue to hold a magical power over me that I am just beginning to fathom.
As a kid I was often to be found in the basement, the attic or garage when not playing outside. I felt more at home surrounded by raw framing, exposed utilities and the miscellany of things in semi-storage. Being both physically and emotionally distant from the bustle of family life, these places were my sanctuary, my first workshop. I had inherited rudimentary hand tools for drafting and woodworking from my grandfathers and taught myself how to use them on simple projects. The first of these was a small chest of drawers I made out of pine for my younger sister’s doll clothes. Copying my grandfather’s fishing tackle box, I replicated each individual piece, carefully measuring and cutting parts from scraps of lumber I found on construction sites nearby. I studied how the pieces were fitted together by opening the tackle box, removing its trays and drawers and studying the connections, the joinery. I would set aside my grandfather’s salt-crusted lures, lead sinkers, spools of line and Penn reels neatly stashed in oil-soaked sacks of heavy canvas, placing everything back in place when I was satisfied I understood the next steps for my chest.
Most everyone has experienced a feeling of primordial connection to things passed on or to places long inhabited. The meaning carried by such objects and places transcends their value, growing stronger over time. This is especially true of things made by hand for a common purpose, like my grandfather’s tackle box. The simpler they are, the more clearly they embody the value system that brought them into being. This value system is what I call Deep Craft.
Deep Craft is a site for articulating a deeper understanding of craft practices and products through experimental research and demonstration. Deep Craft begins as a window into my woodworking studio, much like a contemporary version of the ‘Jointer’s Journals’ of the 18th and 19th centuries. I invite you to join me as I explore the coastal bio-region of Northern California, using simple tools and sharpened senses to reinvigorate the role of the handmade in contemporary life.
In the coming months, this site will evolve in both content and interactivity. My hope is for Deep Craft to spark a collaborative effort to establish a bio-regional credo outlining our relationship to place and to each other.
I extend my gratitude to the Center for Cultural Innovation (cciarts.org), whose inaugural Investing in Artists Grant has made this endeavor possible. I’m equally indebted to John Bielenberg, Erik Cox and David Stychno of C2 (c2llc.com) for the design of the ‘deep’ logo, and to Mark Resch and Sarah Dopp of Cerado.com for the design of this site and its future iterations. Technorati Profile ‘deep’ is a trademark of Wowhaus.