The talent, do you have it? Find out?

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dave_person

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Hi,
These topics are fun because they are so abstract. An artist friend of mine always advised "learn craft first and the art will come". It would be frustrating to have the soul of an artist, which most of you probably have in some fashion, but not the means to express it. This is where craft comes in and "talent" is really no more than the ability to learn "skill". Skills can be learned with practice and persistence and a "talented" person might just have the ability to acquire a skill faster and more completely. Once you have skills, you can express the artistic ideas in your brain. But there is at least one more step, learning how to "see" rather than merely "observe". Everyone observes from birth but it takes time and training to see. Seeing is identifying patterns, color, texture, and shape and placing them into a context that has meaning and/or emotion. Seeing is learned but some have "talent" and learn faster and more completely. For example, I do several demos on gun building at Dixon's and one demo is forming the wrist and lock panels. I shape the wrist and lock panel of a still squared stock blank to almost finished shape in 20 minutes using only a pattern maker's rasp. I do this quickly and deliberately because I can "see" the proper shapes and contours in my mind and on the wood. One gentleman saw my demo one year and then brought me a rifle he built at the next year's fair. He made all the classic errors of design usually expressed by new gun builders, not because he hadn't learned from me how to use his tools but he still did not "see" how the curves of the stock at the wrist and lock panels blend and connect to make a pleasing and elegant gun. In time, he will, particularly if he examines the good work of others who know what they are doing. This brings me to my final point. You can learn to see by examining the work of others and copying that work. There is no shame in copying and you may learn much faster. There is a reason why budding painters sit for hours in museums copying the work of masters. There are a few true artistic geniuses who create new things but most artists have acquired a library in their brains of designs and images inspired by others. They create "their" art by mining that library and simply rearranging the "furniture" so to speak. For most of us, the artistic process really is not all that mysterious.

dave
 

Eric Krewson

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this is a little off topic but a game changer for me as a craftsman.

I was an ADD wracked, low achieving student in grade school, they didn't label us back in the 50s and 60s for which I am now grateful.

I joined the Army as a helicopter crewchief. Soon I was required to take a helicopter completely apart, put it back together and fly off in it. This new profession changed my focus from being scatter brained to one with attention to detail and perfect job completion.

This early training gave me the perseverance to stay the course and not quit until a job was done right to the best of my ability.

I have tried other crafts, sewing for instance, I found if I didn't have a deep interest in the craft from my day to day activities I was wasting my time. I will never be seamstress.

I was a serious duck hunter, archery fanatic and black powder deer hunter. My interest in these activities led me to the crafts of carving ducks, making bows and flintlock rifles.
 

Elnathan

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Flehto,

People certainly do start from different places - I wasn't trying to deny that. Some people have that little bit extra that allows them to achieve things that others cannot - I said as much initially.

BUT

This notion that you either can build or can't build based on some undefined genetic characteristic called "talent" is massively misguided.

My Mom is an artist, and through her I have foot in the local artist community here in Asheville (and "art" is a big thing here - they even have their own section of town these days). The art world is drowning in people that are oh-so creative and talented but don't actually have any skill. Mom shares a studio with probably a dozen other artists, and as far as I recall from the last time I was there maybe three or four produced anything worthwhile.

I'm not impressed with "art." I've seen too much of it. I am impressed with skill, and whether it comes naturally and easily or whether it is acquired with great labor makes little difference.
 

Titus Bass

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I'm fixing to find out but pretty sure I can. I've done my own gun smithing for long time done mechanical work most my life, weld,turn wood ,metal, plow team or single horses I can go on but may run out ink. But mine will be a true barn gun turned one my old horse stables into a shop no electricity all hand power just finished with the last mod on my post drill. And just now mail girl came by got my copy of gunsmith of Grenville co. Make smoke ken
 

Black Hand

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Elnathan said:
Flehto,

People certainly do start from different places - I wasn't trying to deny that. Some people have that little bit extra that allows them to achieve things that others cannot - I said as much initially.

BUT

This notion that you either can build or can't build based on some undefined genetic characteristic called "talent" is massively misguided.

My Mom is an artist, and through her I have foot in the local artist community here in Asheville (and "art" is a big thing here - they even have their own section of town these days). The art world is drowning in people that are oh-so creative and talented but don't actually have any skill. Mom shares a studio with probably a dozen other artists, and as far as I recall from the last time I was there maybe three or four produced anything worthwhile.

I'm not impressed with "art." I've seen too much of it. I am impressed with skill, and whether it comes naturally and easily or whether it is acquired with great labor makes little difference.
The only way to create a rare diamond is to apply high temperature and pressure to common carbon (a raw material with potential)...
 

Micah Clark

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I think this conversation is a big of a higher level discussion for us newbie's . . .

I think I have the talent to build a rifle. I am not an artist, so engraving and carving is another matter.

What I lack most is knowledge . . .and second practice. I am in the middle of my second build. My skills are slowly improving, but none of it would ever have happened . . I would not even have tried . .had a good builder not taken me under his wing to coach me through it.

At around $1,000 a kit, it's not like one can just jump into one of these and take a chance of having a good gun 6 months later. . so while talent is needed, knowledge is just as important.
 

Black Hand

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People have heard for all too long that they can be anything they want to be.

I vehemently disagree!

People can (potentially) be whatever they are willing to work for...

There isn't anything out there (including rocket science and brain surgery) that can't be learned with a sufficient application of effort and time.
 

Micah Clark

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I agree with that. I'm not into participation trophies.

I believe I have the ability to be a gun builder IF I choose to invest the time and effort . . for some that's less time and effort for others more. . I am not sure I have the artistic ability (or desire) to build upon in order to ever really engrave, but I have mechanical and hand skills that I've used more than some in restoring a British Sports Car and numerous home building projects. . so I know there's a little something in me to start from. . .

My coach told me that he once built a gun with one of his best friends, who loves to shoot, but he didn't enjoy building the rifle at all. . .As for me . . . I'd almost rather build one than shoot it.
 

hanshi

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Well, I don't have the talent. I might be able to build something like a Jim Kibler kit or a TVM kit but I would still need help and advice. I have a spacial awareness problem which means I can't look at something and know if it fits or not. And - believe or not - I have real trouble with left/right and clockwise/counter clockwise; I also get lost any and every where. So, no talent. I've been told that I am and have been honored as an exceptional teacher. But that's not a "talent". One has to have at least good skill with tools and hands that can use them. Ra has taken away 75% of my hand strength/dexterity plus I shake, now.

Wanting to do something and applying oneself to that pursuit doesn't make up for lack of talent or ability.
 

M. De Land

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The problem in my opinion is being able to transfer what one "sees" in their mind to motor coordination "skill" that is required to create reality.
One can see into eternity and have brain power enough to levitate an anvil but if he has no skill to transfer it from mind to matter it will never materialize to the level desired.
The mechanics can always be mastered to one degree or another but without the blend of all these traits, spiritual ,mental and physical characteristics in one being a master peace is impossible.
I go to the Bible for an example of when the temple furniture was being made. God said he put his spirit into the two men used for as perfect a human expression of art as ever was.
I think the same thing is going on to a lesser degree in gun and accouterments creation.
He does truly work in strange and magnificent ways in all of us!
 

Spence10

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M.D. said:
I go to the Bible for an example of when the temple furniture was being made. God said he put his spirit into the two men used for as perfect a human expression of art as ever was.
I think the same thing is going on to a lesser degree in gun and accouterments creation.
He does truly work in strange and magnificent ways in all of us!
I am very glad to learn that. I've always wondered why I don't have some talents, now I understand it's because God didn't want me to have them. Turns out, it ain't my fault, after all. I can't be expected to compete with the divinely talented.

Spence
 

M. De Land

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I don't know Spence, maybe your a savant that hasn't found his nitch yet! :rotf:
 

Capt. Jas.

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Always a combination of what you are born with and what you acquire (breeding and environment). There are some bornice with less than others in natural ability but thru environment can attain a decent level. There are also others who a born with it who never have opportunity or could care less.
 

Larry Akers

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IMO a "talent" is a gift from God and a "skill" is something that can be learned.
 

Spence10

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LJA said:
IMO a "talent" is a gift from God and a "skill" is something that can be learned.
Why would God want to discriminate against some of us?

Spence
 

Black Hand

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LJA said:
IMO a "talent" is a gift from God and a "skill" is something that can be learned.
You are making a distinction that doesn't exist...
 

Coot

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I had an art teacher who maintained that he could teach anyone who actually cared to draw reasonably well - what most of us would call really good. His constant critiques of what we in his class did was that we drew what we thought something should look like rather than what we actually saw - and he was right, our drawings almost always had errors that were readily visible when we looked at the subject that we were supposed to draw and then looked at what we had put on paper. Even an unsteady hand that cannot do fine detail should be able to get basic proportions right. All that said, only a few have the dedication to really develop what talent they have and few have the inspiration & sense of overall composition to be great.
 

Kansas Jake

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I think your observation covers what I was trying to express in my early post on this thread. Most of us can probably build a decent gun with time and practice. True works of art are another level altogether.

I would be the last person to discourage someone from trying their hand at building.
 

Black Hand

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You fail 100% of the time for things you don't try doing...
 

Rifleman1776

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The problem in my opinion is being able to transfer what one "sees" in their mind to motor coordination "skill" that is required to create reality.
Very true. We have an excellent wood carving club in my area. The top carvers start with and object and are able to 'see' it in 3 dimension and re-create it with a knife. I have tried and always (always :( ) end up with a thing folks look at and say "what is it?". That visual skill is just not part of me.
 

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