Sure, there’s something fascinating about seeing a bunch of machines building things. But when you see someone hammering and bending steel into shape with forge-scarred tools and a little elbow grease, assembly lines just don’t hold a candle. Machines also can’t explain the inspiration behind a design (spoiler alert: machines don’t get inspired). So, it’s exciting to be able to not only see some traditional techniques in use, but to have a chance to talk to the makers and learn how they created a piece.
For the Hook, Vine and Sinker Pendant, Hubbardton Forge artisans Annie, Tim, Scott and Jeff talked about the design process. It was different than the usual way a design comes about. For this collection, the design team approached the forge team with a task – to forge some visually interesting hooks to pair with different blown-glass shades.
It was a chance for all four of them to step out of their routine and flex their creative muscles. For each, the creative process was a little different.
“I did a lot of drawings. I tried to take our traditional leaf design and give it a modern touch, making a leaf and vine that formed the hook,” says Tim.
“I did a lot of thumbnail sketches and then turned to the forge to work them out,” says Annie.
Scott also started with drawings, but then used the water jet to cut his patterns and see what lined up best with what he had in mind.
Jeff’s approach was the most organic, which also made it the most difficult to replicate. “I grabbed scrap steel and worked on some ideas. When I got close and the design team liked the concept, I had to try to remember how I did it.”
“It was interesting to be able to go to the design room and talk about the designs and be involved,” says Annie.
The team agreed that every time they hand-forge, they pick up some new knowledge. They also agreed that making a forged knot without tooling is hard. But the experience was great and gave both the design and forge teams insight into how the other side worked. It also resulted in the three new mini pendants, the Hook, the Vine and the Sinker and the larger pendant, the Hook, Vine and Sinker, that literally ties all three together. There’s more to come from the forge team’s adventures. More than a dozen forged elements were created and the design team is already exploring potential designs to feature them in.