[CR]Along the path

Example: Framebuilders:Alberto Masi

Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 23:20:53 -0800
From: Dennis Young <mail@woodworkingboy.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
In-Reply-To: <CATFOOD5hkdQmEgLvnl00001cde@catfood.nt.phred.org>
Subject: [CR]Along the path

> The only way to accomplish the ultimate frame is to meld the rider to
> the design through the experience of the framebuilder. The more
> knowledge of different frames, the more experiences one has, the better
> equipt they are to build frames that are an extention of the owner of
> the bike as opposed to an extention of the framebuilders own
> preferences

The above taken in part from Brian's earlier post.

I want to suggest that a artisan who has reached the point of Brian's conclusions, has taken a major step toward achieving the ultimate creations within the context of operating a 'service' business. It is generally not the inexperienced craftsman who can step outside himself to initate a process to make something to more than satisfy the needs of the customer, while at some LATER point bringing the project to full circle by finding and pleasing himself as well. More often the approach is that I will formulate what I want to suit you, as opposed to the motivation of creating what a specific, perhaps even slightly eccentric customer needs, and then trying to work in the subserviant qualities or details (let's say that good workmanship is a given) to suit the maker as well. This may require talent, but it surely necessitates study, and open mindedness, and not being afraid to subject yourself to the scrutiny of individuals, perhaps former customers, who will tend to categorize your work from earlier frames of reference, and within the almost unavoidable context of their own likes and dislikes. How many artisans have been confronted by good intentioned people who will say, "I liked it better when you did it that way, or used those materials, but this new stuff you are doing, why?" Simply saying I was getting bored doesn't cut the mustard, you have to be philosophical about it, and try and explain how this new type is for a customer with different requirements or preferences from ones previous. A real p in the b. Unless your reputation is enhanced by being known as a 'kookie' artist, it is better not to say that I feel the need for a 'walk about', and have taken my tools with me. The point is that, and I take the liberty of drawing a hopefully correct inference from Brian's expression and expanding upon it, good or great craftsmen sometimes need to explore change, and learn to see things differently, grow, maybe even sometimes this to get back to the same place they were once before. If you can keep the customer happy and satisfied while undertaking this process, it is a excellent yardstick for level of stature and capability, and not least of which a path that will help to keep one in business. Oddly, you can risk losing a few customers along the way when you strive for greater range. Might some people wish to choose a classicly oriented frame builder for reasons that he doesn't do certain things, not just because he does do certain things. This in the same way a piece of plywood might be frowned upon in the shop of a woodworker known for working in solid timbers. I offer that if within the philosophy of approach is maintained the desire for product improvement, or even the more elusive self improvement, that also brings with it a mostly impartial quality of restraint. This goes a long way toward keeping the flame burning, or possibly even enables you to start a new flame where there was no heat before.

Dennis Young
a rare day off in Hotaka, Japan