Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Lost Trades

"It is transparently clear that what is rapidly slipping through our fingers is a generation of trade skills and knowledge" - says Lisa Rundell.  "Knowledge and skills which, right now, can still be rescued and passed on to future generations. We may not be able to say this in another decade. I think people are finally realising what we have to lose".

But Lisa and Glen Rundell are not sitting idle. Six years ago Glen (a bespoke Chair Maker himself)  started what is now known as 'The Lost Trades' project- an Australian Fair that showcases the incredible talent, spirit and authenticity behind the makers working in traditional trades. Amazingly, the project goes beyond the skills or even the pieces made by the artisans - to a very personal point allowing us to discover who the craftsmen of the lost trades really are.  An intimate look into the workshops and lives of the Australian artisans, from bronze bell, barrel, rocking horse and chair makers, to blacksmiths, finest decorative artists, bicycle and puppet makers to leather-smiths and bespoke tailors.

Max Tucker is 17 years young and he is a blacksmith. He got fascinated with the trade at the age of 10 when he visited Glen and Lisa's first Lost Trades Fair. When they arrived home, his dad made him a forge - and Max hasn't stopped hammering iron since.

It was a real privilege to watch him working. He made for us a traditional English fire poker with ram head: a piece which showcases the artistry, attention to detail and magic of a blacksmiths one-off-the kind.

Australia has a strong trade history, a great influx of skilled labour came to Australia during the gold rush. Many of our most beautiful architectural landmarks were built during this time: public buildings, churches, town halls, court buildings, and homesteads. Stonemasons, blacksmiths, tinsmiths, lead-lighters, decorative hard plasterers, sign-writers and painters worked together to create iconic structures that remain timeless and, even today, hold a beauty that can not be easily replicated.

Thanks to Lisa and Glen, the future of lost trades may be found and alive again...

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