The Rare Trade community is building in our country, and are promoted in a new directory, called Rare Trades Australia. There are Bookbinders, blademakers, wheelwrights, timber boat builders, letterpress printers, coopers, tinsmiths, bootmakers, steam engineers, blacksmiths, weavers, stone wall builders and many more who use and demonstrate real Rare Trades today.
The notion of a Rare Trade – the things we all have in common, are these:
· that the skills we use were the same a hundred and more years ago. Many of those made objects are still used for their primary purpose, so the tools, materials and techniques are proven over time.
· that our skills were originally learned as a trade, rather than creative art or home craft. That means the things we make are meant to be functional before they are beautiful. In fact, they are beautiful because they have been made with such care and detail to a custom need.
· that the things we craft are intended to last, and may well outlive you. They are designed to be repaired and inherited, not replaced and discarded.
So, whilst a rare trade can be seen merely as a novel link to our heritage, it is most properly appreciated as much more substantial than just antiquated sentimentality. It is the practice of techniques which still have no equal today, and the result of well-tuned and well-tested experience, passed along through the ages.
You can find out more about Rare Trades in your area online on facebook. It is a new collective, so there will be lots coming up this year to explore. Why not follow along :
Sonya Macdonald is an Australian fine bookbinder who lives in Napoleons with a keen interest in promoting Rare Trades. Visit her on March 15 and 16 at the Sago on Tuesdays Bookbindery – Napoleons. 4780 Colac-Ballarat Rd, Napoleons. Venue 18 on the map. www.artstrail.com.au #gpartstrail2014