It has always amazed me how things happen through twists and turns in someone’s life. Through shear luck and circumstance I have met the most amazing and influential people in my life, ones that will be friends for life, and ones that steered my life in a direction that I have never thought of.
John is one of those people, … when I met John Gray (@johngrayknives) and was walking around in his shop it was a true short cut into my childhood memory (in all honesty it helped that some of the machinery there IS from my childhood era – and much earlier, think of WWII era ‘larger than life’ Bridgeport mills that have been making machine parts to help win the war effort.)
It made me reflect on something my dad once told me about what he felt when he walked out of his office for the very last time, and was getting ready for new challenges after his retirement. (He was a designer and project leader for the last submarine class built in the Netherlands.)
He said : “Looking back in to my office there were about 18 binders full of designs and patents that are to be considered ‘old and obsolete’ in a relatively short time from now, I truly miss making something with my hands and something that lasts.” – and he started to write books and create paintings. A small moment for him when he was talking with his son, but a huge moment for me to remember, and a fine-tuned direction on my compass to ‘bookmark’.
All small puzzle pieces slowly coming together..
Growing up I was always to be found alongside my grandfather as I was ‘to be groomed’ as the heir apparent – mind you I was still a lil’ tike and it was the late 70’s early 80’s. I was always roaming around the shop and loved the slight sweet smell of oil and the impressive large machines like mills and lathes. And was in awe with the notion that you can actually make something from raw material into something like a useful tool, something of added value that now is sought after by craftsmen, professionals and collectors.
Now, fast forward to today – I am ‘in my head’, thinking that somethings are not going fast enough for me, and where I’m trying to plan out things for the future…. I sense I need to slow it down a notch and see what is accomplished already…
When I’m looking back I am the luckiest guy in the world and that where I am at right now is an accumulation hard work and events/actions of some very supportive people that helped me when I needed it. (Above all, my beautiful wife, that has suppported me through thick and thin, and is always making sure that everything that is going out is 100 percent!)
Like when I come across a very early version of our Podenco knife it still amazes me that I made it – and it still gives me that feeling of “Yeah, I’d buy that as that looks like it’s well made and will last.”
So to all that crossed my path, to all that helped me navigate this awesome journey, I salute you and thank you! And know that I when I refer to you as brother or sister it is done with utmost respect and love.