I am 42 years old, and am in the process of relocating my studio and metalworking practice from Toronto to England in order to become a full-time apprentice to metal artist Ford Hallam. For existing followers, you’ll notice the blog title has changed, to reflect the new focus in my practice. “Montei, Monka, Monjin” is a phrase seen often in aikido, that means “one who has crossed the door and receives teaching in the master’s house” – a fitting description for what I am about to do.
I’ve been living in Toronto for the last 22 years, and have been working in the design industry for the last 15. The story is one that I’ve always seen in other people, that of “quitting your job to follow your dreams”, and frankly have never truly considered for myself. But it’s often said that art is a mirror, and if you stick at it long enough you can’t help but see yourself in it. The answers are in the metal, and unless you start asking the questions, you may never see those answers.
“Making stuff” is something I’ve done for most of my life, ranging from woodworking with my dad as a child, building plastic models as a teenager and now bashing metal as an adult. The metalworking interest is in full bloom, running the gamut from jewelry design, to silver/coppersmithing, to Japanese sword fittings. It is in this last category that my interest in the Japanese methodology has taken root, and has become a springboard towards rethinking my approach towards working in metal. To this end I am very fortunate to have worked with Ford, who has firmly established himself as an authority in this methodology, and is also an accomplished metal artist.
This is the story as it unfolds.