We have reached the final edition of the Making of a Craftsman series. In the last four months, we explored the qualities required for an apprentice to develop in order to be commissioned as a master craftsman. We learned that the journey to mastery of skill is challenging yet fulfilling at the same time. One has to have an immense passion for the craft to be intrinsically motivated for perfection. A master craftsman possesses a sharp eye that gives attention to detail. Constant learning is demanded with hours of hard work spent in the workshop refining skills and gaining experience. Ultimately, in the final edition of this series, we recognise that a master craftsman is someone with foresight and one who leaves a legacy behind for those who succeed him.
A craftsman possesses great imagination to birth forth products out of raw materials. The ability to visualise the end at the beginning motivates him to go on despite the challenges ahead. Foresight to create something that was never seen before is essential as he knows that he is bringing something new to this world.
Luxury watch maker, Patek Philippe created an in-depth guide to six specialist techniques (marquetry, gem setting, guilloché, chainsmithery, enamelling and engraving) after anticipating the need to raise awareness of these crafts amongst the new generation. Looking closely at Patek’s Royal Tigers luxury watches, you notice that the velvety fur of the felines’ heads has been created in wood marquetry, a decorative technique from ancient Greece that is traditionally used on furniture. By combining different colours, textures and grains in the wood, the craftsman created a watch that carries the figurative patterns that were once found only in furniture. A master craftsman embraces pushing the boundaries of the norm. His forward-thinking and vision drives him to create new products and eventually leave a legacy of works behind.
To ensure that the tradition of fine craftsmanship and pursuit of perfection is passed on, a master craftsman desires to impart his knowledge and skills to likeminded individuals. This industry is physically demanding. The craftsman knows that he needs support from time to time, especially with large-scale projects that require more labour. It may not be easy to find a community that shares the same lifelong passion given that it is a niche industry. However, when an apprentice decided to come under the craftsman’s wings, it is certain that training and mentoring will be done with passion. At ELM, we are a community of craftsmen who are deeply passionate about medal making. Skills are refined and creativity sparked whenever our craftsmen gather together. In addition to crafting quality medals for our esteemed clients, our master craftsmen aspire to leave a legacy for those who become part of our community in time to come.
As we come to the end of this series, we want to appreciate and recognise the work of every craftsman. We hope that this will create greater awareness towards a craftsman’s journey to mastery as well as for everyone to understand what goes on behind the creation of a medal.