I find it fascinating to hear stories about what inspires people, why they do what they do and what makes you change your life. This summer I talked to Marcin Skalski, founder of Stone’s Forge, who told me how a bird changed his. Well, it’s not just any bird!
Almost two years ago, before Christmas, Marcin and his wife were thinking about Christmas presents for the family and they decided to skip usual shopping madness and do something personal, original and handmade.
“There is nothing more beautiful than to give a present which is made by yourself. For this project I wanted to use my love for blacksmithing. While choosing a bird for a form I was thinking about lightness and nature. An object that you can hold in your hand.”
After long time sketching Marcin crafted 10 birds for the family and it was a wonderful surprise, they loved them. Also friends started to ask for more. These birds were a spark that made a blast. In July 2017 Marcin decided to leave his profession as an architect and commit to design and craftsmanship. Growing up and living in a village not far from Cracow gave him lots of advantages. He was very close to different types of craft but his hart was beating for blacksmithing. His grandpa had a workshop with all needed tools so he could learn and work there. Being in such an environment explains his fondness and respect for handcraft.
“During designing process it’s incredibly important to know the craft very well. It’s a language you are going to use. The way you joint elements and details are crucial.”
“For producing my birds I use wood from local trees. It is a conscious decision. Hazelnut tree has a wonderful structure and every time I’m stunned with it’s beauty. For black birds, for example, I use ash tree. Minimalistic and modern form of this object highlights the nobility of material.”
The form of the bird as we can see it today is a result of countless sketches and discussions with his wife who, being an architect too, is a great adviser.
“I’m very fond of modern design and architecture, I love minimalism so this object is reflecting my passion. While designing the bird I was avoiding making it literal and at the same time I was searching for the essence of it. Our brain is in a search of surprises, it likes untypical forms and situations.”
Marcin was also very fortunate with timing of his project which he admits himself.
“During last few years I observe great changes in polish society. People appreciate handcraft, local and unique objects. It has also to do with growing wealth in Poland. Ten years ago I couldn’t even dream of living from design.”
Stone’s Forge is a beautiful example that if you follow your heart and your talent unexpected things can happen. Starting as a Christmas present for the family the bird won hearts of people all over Poland and abroad. Such a small and modest fellow, he made it to Japan!
All photos by Asia K. except from photos of the workplace by Stone’s Forge