The architect Marcin Skalski is the founder of Kuznia Skały (Stones Forge) – an arts & craft project that derives inspiration from blacksmithing and woodworking in the countryside. Coming from Lesser Poland’s countryside, his main inspiration is traditional applied art – ordinary everyday objects such as a ferruled wooden wheel or a scythe. We met to find out what his daily work looks like. We are proud to stock the beautiful wooden birds by Kuznia Skaly.
Your morning routine
I start my day around 8 AM. I try to do all the hardest work before noon. I leave lighter, more contemplative works (e.g. grinding) for later. I also like doing some sketches with my morning coffee and in the evening.
The first thing you do when you come to your /studio
The first thing is setting my radio and choosing music that fits the mood of the day.
Instagram, Fb or no social media?
All my social media accounts are about my work. I’ve only just recently set up a private Fb account. I use them but wouldn’t say I’m a social media geek.
Magazines/books you read
I read magazines occasionally, usually I look through internet sites such as Dezeen or Archdaily. As to books I read quite a lot of fiction through reportage to science. I draw inspiration from a lot of things – nature, archeology, history. If I were to choose one genre, it would probably be science fiction.
Three objects which are essential at your work:
A nail, a hammer and the thing that starts it all – a pencil.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
In my work I like to mix different materials so it all depends on a project. When it comes to metal – it’s the easiest – a hammer and an anvil. When it comes to wood, it gets more complicated. I use lots of different machines, many of which I have constructed myself.
What inspires you and motivates you to get your work done?
Primarily it’s admiring the works of masters of different crafts and studying historic objects. But also watching all the cool things other craftsmen do and how they do it too.
One funny story from your work
It’s hard to find one particularly funny story but I must say that handcraft and contact with clients and other craftsmen is a source of many enjoyable and sometimes funny situations, especially during events such as design fairs when you meet lots of new people.
The project you are working on right now?
This year is very busy for me as I need to rebuild and enlarge my workshops whilst working on new projects. I stick to little decorative forms as at the moment they give me the most possibilities when it comes to shaping of form. It’s safest to say that at this very moment I have given myself some freedom just to experiment with forms and materials.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I most probably love all about my work. Perhaps the monotony of some of the stages may be sometimes a bit tedious but the effect always compensates for any hardships.
Hand-made or mass-production?
I’m not planning on going into mass-production. Handcraft gives the objects the inimitable look and uniqueness that I’m interested in. Also I like working with my projects from the beginning till the very end – It’s an essential part of the fun for me.
Do you work individually or with a team?
Mostly I work alone. Sometimes I use the help of my father who has a passion for wood and assists me with some of the laborious tasks.
How do you rest and relax after work?
Sadly I don’t have much time to relax lately. But when I do I like to go for a walk with my kid or do some gardening. I’m also a huge movie enthusiast (tv series included). And even though it’s kind of work too, I find sketching very relaxing.
Do you have advice for anybody who wants to work in your field?
You need to be stubborn and determined. It’s good to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the technical side of the craft but you’ll most probably work it out eventually so don’t let it petrify you in the beginning. What you must focus on though is being creative and curious at all times and keep learning and exploring. Don’t be afraid to do your own stuff outside of the trends – it’s much more satisfying that way.
Edited by Lisa Barham