On Making Stuff

For the now several decades of my prior working life I produced results.

These results were just that, something to point to when someone drew a line. As a student, I wrote papers on esoteric subjects such as “non-discontinuous rabbit temporal segments” (I studied philosophy); the deadline was usually the end of a semester. During my time as a non-profit administrator volunteer hours were the measure of success, and by the end of every year we’d aimed to record a few more. As a trader, there was our annual profit and losses to tally and circulate to clients, with the hope that over time we showed more of the former and little of the latter. For nearly thirty years my results were words and figures, all of which over the long haul have as much as evaporated in the memories of the people to whom they were terribly important at the time they were produced, myself included.

At Brooklyn Copper Cookware I’m still writing a bunch, managing hours and ginning up figures, but all of that is in service to this:

Hammersmith pots on display

Sent by a proud customer upon receiving several of our pots.

Now there’s something tangible at the end of all the scribbling and figuring. With due respect to Dante, at the midpoint of my own divine comedy the path through the dark forest opened onto something real, useful and beautiful.

As a student of philosophy I specialized in aesthetics, specifically aesthetic theory. I was (and still am) very caught up in explanations of beauty, and the splendidly useless experience of it, but over the past many years I’ve come to understand that explanations for things stand quite apart from the things themselves, and are, in a strong sense, superfluous. So often it’s more than enough to let things (and people, for that matter) speak for themselves.

It is also exceedingly pleasant to find myself, on this path at this point, less a student of beauty and more the maker of it. As those who know me best will tell you, the idea that I would ever be involved in bringing into existence anything that speaks for itself, with no need of explanation, was something I kept at arm’s length for a long time.

My dad, not a religious man, was nevertheless fond of quoting Ecclesiastes: “all things good in their time.”