Jimmy R wrote:
That is why in my woodworking I cannot let my creations go so easily (or cheaply) I see them as a perfect expression of myself
Funny you should mention that as I said nearly the same thing to a carpenter friend of mine who was checking on my Japanese style home construction progress...I told him that my wife, who is at the end of her rope with me because we still aren't in the house after 7 years of work, hasn't figured out yet that this is my legacy to my progeny. All that I am is in this house-good and bad...it is a book that tells my story....It is my love letter to my family...
How would you classify Ford Hallam's work?
I have some of his tsuba and consider them as Japanese craft due to his training
He should have been born 200 years ago in Japan....I think his work is worthy of collecting, though as I said, unfortunately, I think the market for western made Japanese style art is a small one. Reading his response below about the frustration he faces in earning a living at it brings to mind, sadly, similar sentiments I have heard from craftsman in Japan. Most of the tsubako I know do it more as a hobby because they can not earn a living doing it. It has gotten that way for the majority of sword smiths as well after 20 years of recession in Japan.
Ford Hallam wrote:
I have to point out the inherent racist position in suggesting that implying that only Japanese people can make 'real' Japanese art. In any other, mature, art-form, this nationalistic prejudice would be an embarrassment. A brief survey of classical 'European music' should serve as sufficient warning in that respect.
I agree fully that art is timeless and that one does not need to be Japanese to make art in a Japanese style, but I don't think it is racist to state that only a Japanese can make a Japanese sword. It is by definition made by a Japanese. I am not saying you have to be Japanese to make a good sword, but any sword made by someone not Japanese is a Japanese style sword, not a Japanese sword....I think it is this distinction that makes life difficult for westerners trying to gain acceptance of their work in the Japanese style. No matter the quality, seemingly, it is always looked at as an homage, rather than the real thing....I have heard that Keith Austin battled this his whole career...
Grey's comment about buying a blade and not a name, is great in theory but difficult in practice when you are considering shinsakuto and you can actually meet the craftsman....I met many smiths in Japan. People are the same everywhere- some you like, some you are indifferent to, and some you hope you never meet again. I had a blade I loved by a smith and was excited to have the chance to meet him. He was one I didn't desire to meet again and I sold the blade because no matter how good it was, all I thought of when I looked at it was what an ass the smith was....It is hard to divorce the art from the artist when it is modern....