In November of 2005, a week after returning from a month in Japan I was joined for 3 weeks, in my studio, by Patrick Hastings. Many of you will know him and his work but for those of you who don't, here's a link to his site.
I'd noticed him on-line, on various fora, and was impressed by his efforts to make some headway into the world of classical Japanese metalwork. I, somewhat presumptuously, contacted him with an offer of support in terms of technique and whatever else I might be able to add.
After many lengthy emails and phone calls I invited Patrick to visit us in England so that he could get more of a taste of what I was doing. He jumped at the chance and a short while later my family and I found ourselves at Bristol airport greeting a ridiculously large Californian ( he’s 6 foot 7, I think ) and wondering how we were going to squeeze him into my tiny studio.
Our very dear friend and neighbour Karen Todd ( a sophisticated collector of fine Kagamibuta ;-) ) had offered to put Patrick up for the duration of his stay, and so with him trapped nearby I was able to impose a gruelling training program that I'd devised. I hoped this would provide a solid grounding from which he could develop his already impressive skills.
He kept his complaining about the hardness of my stools and the lack of space to a minimum and applied himself the tasks I'd set him. We managed to cover a massive amount of material in those short, but intense, weeks. We kept at it 7 days a week and when not actually in the studio I kept the poor bloke up late into the night talking about all sorts of nonsense, some of it even related to Japanese art metalwork.
Patrick has written a very generous, and kind, account of this time we spent together and posted it on his website, and although I feel a little embarrassed to direct you there because of that, I never the less would like to continue to support his efforts by doing so.
If you have a look in his archive of past work you’ll be able to see the 3 tsuba he made in my studio. He arrived with blanks already prepared to my specifications so we were able to make the best use of the time we had. I think he did remarkably well to put up with my demanding ways and I’m very pleased to see how he has developed his art.