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Old 3rd October 2007, 04:32 AM   #32
A. G. Maisey
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4,517
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Yeah, I could see architectural work paying. Once you use the word "architecture" , or any of its derivatives, cost goes up exponentially.

Ric, maybe you envy some of my experience, but I doubt that you would have enjoyed it very much.

Try a full deep squat, with your bum just scraping the ground, and nothing to sit on except your heels.

Now imagine a bench about 15 inches high.

You maintain this squat for hours on end while working with files, scrapers, cold chisels, and all the other hand tools used to sculpt a keris blade.

A normal working day under these conditions was 7.30AM to 3.30PM with a half hour break for lunch.

These were the working conditions for the keris that I made under Empu Suparman's instruction. It took 16 days working like this to make it.

At the time I learnt from Empu Suparman, he was the only maker of whom we knew who was still using traditional methods. Everybody else was using electric grinders, angle grinders, bench grinders, die grinders---etc, and things like Dremels for the detail work. Some makers were---and still do---put on a traditional work show for visitors, but when the visitors go home, they go back to their real workshop and work standing at a normal bench using electric tools, similar to what any metal worker uses these days.

Ain't no money in tradition , mate, and people have to make a living. Empu Suparman never, ever worked on a commercial basis, and did not sell his work, but gave it away. Of course, there was always a reciprocatory gift.

Empu Suparman was my most important teacher, and eventually I became a part of his family, but other empus and pandai keris have also given me a lot of knowledge.
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