[CR]Re: Hand made?

From: BobHoveyGa@aol.com
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 16:02:03 EST
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Subject: [CR]Re: Hand made?

In a message dated 3/8/03 2:23:28 PM, classicrendezvous-request@bikelist.org writes:
>as we've discovered vis-a-vis the hetchins history piece that i hope
>you read, even the progenitors of the 'handcut lug', that bastion of
>bespoke british framebuilding, hetchins, sought to eliminate hand-work,
>tried to maximize efficiency, and, heck, made no bones about the
>'myth' that a caring framebuilder lovinginly caressed each and every
>friggin' lug and imparted his spirit into every frame that bore the
>hetchins marque, a marque that is the identifying brand associated
>with ornamental frame detailing. they were not doing what most
>people hoped to, or wanted to, believe. and ya' know what? they
>did an XLNT job in spite of, or even because of, their desire
>to make the most amount of frames whilst using their era's equivilant
>of pre-fabbed building supplies.

Perhaps one reason folks are reacting negatively to this revelation is the very fact that this manufacturer cultivated the "hand-made" aura for so long. When you do one thing and espouse another, it's going to get folks upset, especially insiders (like collectors and framebuilders).

I made pottery for many years and worked exclusively at the wheel. Many production facilities turned to mold-made work in an effort to increase production and lower costs. Most potters I know had no problem with that as long as the mold-made work retained some degree of good design and integrity (by integrity, I mean a considerate use of the medium and a trueness to the foming method). So if a mold-made piece was well done and made honest and effective use of the mold making process, we had no problem admiring it. But when a mold made pot sought to imitate the "look and feel" of wheel-thrown pot, with it's unique fingermarks and inconsistencies, that's when we got angry. All mold-made work is not bad... molded work pretending to be something it's not is another matter...

When you look at socketed dropouts by Henry James or Nagasawa, they have clean and unique looks that can be appreciated on their own terms and they never pretend to be something they are not... and they are undeniably beautiful. But lugs that are stamped out or mass-cut by the hundreds and then promoted as handmade, well, that just strikes me as maybe not outright dishonest but at least hollow and a little sad. However! ... if they take those stamped or mass-cut blanks and refine their surfaces and contours individually, that's another matter... the eye and hand has a chance to leave its mark, and all is forgiven.

Bob Hovey
Columbus, GA