“…taking what nature gives us and doing as little as possible to it to make it the best it can be.” (Salumi, Ruhlman and Polycn)
Building a Handmade Life
My interests are multifaceted but overlap in the way that they all revolve around food…the plant identification, plant harvesting, hunting, fishing, and trapping; processing tools, fermentation, preservation techniques; and cooking styles, techniques, and implements. I craft the accoutrements for the above, which includes the blacksmithing of knives and tools; the woodworking of wooden buckets and trays for fermentation; and the woodworking of bowls, spoons, and dishes for serving and eating. These aspects combine for a low-tech but rich life, with a deep connection to and knowledge of the local environment, as well as a specific taste from localized cuisine (i.e. wooden buckets as vessels for fermenting local foods with local bacteria, known as terrior).
Connection To Locale Through Use
While trying to live locally, I want to do it in a way that expands what is available to me, in a way that closes the fewest doors. If done with creativity and openness, increasing local aspects of my life can help create a more diverse and delectable diet, sense of place, and mental stimulation. With research of international techniques, the utility of locally available mammal, bird, fish, and plant species becomes infinite. Some foods are culturally avoided or were never explored by immigrants due to the food being outside of their food prep context. I envision my approach to life as if (immigrant) families from various places in the world moved to the Northwoods and searched for the flavors, techniques, and cooking implements of home with the foods and resources available locally and began sharing those tastes and techniques. The resulting medley is my goal - influenced by and respectful of tradition, while weaving in modern innovations.
In the end, the open-source sharing of my skills and knowledge with others who share these interests is of utmost importance…
Locally Harvested And Made With Care
There are a lot of things that I desire which fall out of my price range or are not even purchasable. I set out to learn to make these things myself out of materials that are available locally. I want to make those items accessible to others out of quality materials and at a good price. Most of my goods are food related and many are fermentation related. My experience in food and fermentation gives me relevant knowledge to create these tools and accessories.
Each ware has its own character from being split and carved out by hand with human powered tools, from fresh cut wood. The wood is sustainably harvested. When using the goods that I've handmade, you won't have to worry about glues and chemicals. Everything I use is food-safe and biodegradable. Just wood and simple oils. The only waste is wood chips and shavings which reenter the nutrient cycle of the environment. The working conditions are ones that make me happy, unlike those for the underpaid and overworked laborers in distant regions creating lifeless items in factories.
The wares I make are good accompaniments for eating and serving your home cooked meal, as well as for creating your kimchi and miso.
Form And Function
The function of the item dictates the form that it takes as does the the dynamics of the wood, and the tools used to make the item. Each item's primary design is relative to the use the item will perform. The tool should not dictate the final form; the form should be decided through its function. If the tools dictated the final form of a good, one could end up with a serving spoon with no crank that can't do its job because the power tool focuses on production, as opposed to making the most useful yet beautiful spoon. My primary tools are axes, saws, knives, planes, draw knives, gouges, and chisels. These tools themselves are handmade by small producers and some I've made myself.