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The art of making for making – Educational Taster.

Within timber craft, there is an intermediate space between process and product. This is the productive space of design. Objects which emerge from this dialogue are a reflection of our experiences, compared and contrasted to inform the utilitarian needs of ourselves and others. Tool-making is an endeavour which interrogates these complex and layered relationships with an absolute efficiency. It is a marriage of process and performance; of function as form.

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Metallurgy remains at the core of timber craft. Often this is understood intuitively, for the practice itself cannot exist without exploiting the resilience of tool steels. There is a plethora of modern-day metals which incorporate various alloys to achieve different properties (depending on their use). The knowledge of these characteristics and processes can help to define a methodology in craft.

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Following this line of thought, the Term 4 Educational Taster introduced students to the art of heat treating steel. Students annealed, shaped, hardened, tempered and sharpened a simple tool of their design. Complimentary to this process was the construction and fitting of a timber handle. Overall, the project embodied many different skills, from the art of filing to timber turning—both deceptively difficult as these processes require a high degree of tacit learning.

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There is an excitement which revolves around the heating of steel and observing its incandescent spectrum. Ultimately, it is a process about change which reveals the nature of materiality. Timber as a dynamic material is implicit through its life as a living, ‘breathing’ entity. This same understanding can be extended to all materials which exist as series of temporal relationships—continuously changing and exchanging. Metal is no exception to this rule, and learning to affect its various states is testament to this understanding.

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Thank you to Rhys Jones – H&Co tutor and resident for sharing his knowledge and tool making skills.

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