You should really spend the next 10 minutes of your life watching the second installment in the Made By Hand video series.
It briefly tells the story of writer-turned knife maker Joel Bukiewicz and his Cut Brooklyn studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn — how he made the transition from the more abstract world creative writing (and not being able to sell his first novel) to the very tangible world of making handmade kitchen knives. Turns out he’s one of just perhaps five people in the US doing the entire process by hand.
Early on there’s something that really resonated with me. Joel talks about what really hooked him on knife making:
…the idea of making something so basic and simple, when I had been working on projects that were very abstract, that would never see the light of day… the thing that I made would be useful, would be inherently useful, and would be around forever, that somebody would find it someday and be like, “wow, I can use this thing.”
And later, near the end, he hits on something that, I hope, more people are coming around to understand:
Where the currency is really rich [in making things by hand] is in community, in the friendships that you develop, the fact that you get to do what you want to do and, for the most part, not be bossed around, that’s where it’s rich. In quality of life, it’s rich.