Not sure if I think this is silly or interesting. A Canadian designer in Brooklyn, Peter Buchanan-Smith, is now making and selling hand-painted axes to men, and women who groove on the artisanal, primal attraction of a practical object with design street cred.
Take that, Home Depot!
From The New York Times:
Made by a secret source in Maine, and hand-painted by Mr. Buchanan-Smith, 38, in his TriBeCa studio (with the help of two art school interns and a full-time employee), the sturdy and beautiful hatchets have gone viral.
After Andy Spade, the brander, entrepreneur and husband of Kate Spade, put one in Partners & Spade, his quasi-gallery, in May 2009, design bloggers and the design news media trumpeted the “authenticity” of this manly tool — and then promoted it largely as an art object. This was both irritating and pleasing to Mr. Buchanan-Smith, who says that he constantly worries that he’ll be perceived as “just some design hipster kicking it old-school selling some chic tools to a handful of other hipsters.”
Still, seven of his axes are hanging in the Saatchi Gallery in London. Seth Godin, the entrepreneur and marketing guru, has one, and so do Leonard Lauder, David Lynch and Mike Jones, the president of MySpace.
Even real woodsmen and -women have bought them, as you can see from the comments and photographs on Mr. Buchanan-Smith’s new Web site, Bestmadeco.com, which he has created to be as much of a community center for outdoorsy types like himself as an online emporium. (Mr. Buchanan-Smith, who grew up on a farm in Ontario, has a pre-New York résumé of Hemingway-like experiences, including a job planting trees in Northern Ontario…
First, all you panty-waisted New York hipsters…..tree-planting as proof of manliness is as meh to a Canadian as waitressing or bar-tending. Yes, it’s rugged and really hard work and done way up north. But girls do it, too. Please don’t be overly impressed.
I agree that a man who knows how to handle an ax is a man with some decent hand-eye coordination; if not, it’s off to the ER, stat! The only man I’ve watched wield an ax used it, in desperation on a canoe trip, to…slice cucumbers for our salad because, being a manly man, a rugged outdoorsman, he forgot to bring a damn knife. The drive back to Toronto, all 3.5 hours of it, passed in a frosty silence.
If you’re going to try to impress a woman with your ability to be Old School Man, for God’s sake, do it right.
And what exactly are all these thought leaders going to do with their sexy new axes? Chop their way across Michael’s or into a prime table at the Waverly Inn?