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My career path is a dying art
As we are traveling through this golden age of technological advancement with just the beginnings of artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, supercomputers that can fit into your pocket, and things of advanced technology that I can't even fathom right now but in five years’ time will become ubiquitous, and wouldn't you know it, I decided to change my career path to a dying art.
A little over 120 years ago almost every town had a blacksmith. Hell it was almost as much of a requirement as having a doctor! From India and Europe, through Egypt and China, Japan to the United States the blacksmith was everywhere. The Bladesmith, was everywhere.
Then comes the industrial revolution. And somewhere about 1960 the art of blacksmithing and bladesmithing nearly died. Thanks to William F. Moran, who was president of the Knife Makers Guild and in 1972 unveiled his Damascus knives at the Guild Show that year, creating a revival of interest in the forged blade. It also helped that he gave away a free booklet detailing how he had made them to encourage other knife makers to pick up a hammer and anvil. In 1976 he founded the American Bladesmith Society. This group of knife makers is dedicated to preserving the forged blade and educating the public about traditional blade smithing. What was just a small handful of Bladesmiths in the 1960s has grown to several hundred today.
But that's it. There is just a few hundred of my kind in the world. Even fewer if you count how many do this full-time as their only source of income. That would be me. Full time Bladesmith. Only source of income.
But for me, this is a work of love. There is nothing easy about shaping a lump of steel into a blade. It is time-consuming. It is labor intensive. It is hard damn work. And it's my work.
I'm so lucky that I live in a time and in a place where I can choose to take on this profession and through the course of hard work and training and practice, I can become an accomplished Bladesmith. And through the course of my now chosen career as I pass through the years and they turn into decades, my goal is to become one of the very best Bladesmiths in all the world.
And I believe that, that is an honorable goal. To keep alive a dying art, while following my passion, is a thing I feel very fortunate indeed to be able to do. And I thank all of you, who are supporting me in this effort. Helping me to become better and stay focused. This is not an easy path in life.
But, it’s my path. Chosen by me, for me. So I’m going to walk it boldly and with purpose and intent.
It may be a dying art, but my little corner will remain alive and bright, just like my forge, for the rest of my days….
John M. Glueck