False Neo-Tribal vs. True Neo-Tribal

One

Banned
The false Neo-Tribal Metalsmith is “ABOUT” Neo-Tribal.

The True Neo-Tribal Metalsmith is “OF” Neo-Tribal.

Sat Nam
 

Steven Long

Well-Known Member
If I am reading Mr. Goo right, this thread could possibly be from a post I made in another thread and he is pretty much saying you can't make yourself a Neo-tribal Metalsmith, it is just in your blood. Kind of like hipsters always following what is cool at the time. If I'm wrong, my bad...
 

Archer Moon

Well-Known Member
I can see this getting ulgy real fast. Lets be nice.

I do see everyones point on this. My take is that everyone is right. Neo tribal is a way of thinking and doing with what you have. It is not some thing you study for. The modern schools are taking that from our kids. Lets give it back to them!
 

Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
Randy, +1! And Archer has got it partly, too, IMHO. It can be a way of life, however, it's a style too and can be learned as such. It would be quite ironic that a Neo-Tribalist would take an exclusivist stance like you have to "live" it or you're not allowed. Not to say that's what was the impetuous of this discussion was.
Lets just make cool stuff!!!!!
 

One

Banned
The main reason I've distanced myself from it somewhat over the past 5-10 years or so, is just because I don't like being labeled, boxed in or stereotyped. However, I think my name will always be associated with it anyway and there will always be an element of it in my work. So, I am excited about seeing new growth in Neo-Tribal and helping to change the way people think about it.

Innovation was always a big part of the original concept and I would like to see it become a more universal approach to hand craftsmanship, design, aesthetics etc.

If folks want to rally around it and use the name, feel like part of a larger group or bigger picture, I think that is fine.

To me, it isn't about being Neo-Tribal or conforming to preconceived ideas "about" it. It's being "of" it.
 
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??????? I saw neo- tribal long ago and my take on it all work was by hand and unplugged using recycled metals like car springs ect. Am I wrong?
 

kidterico

Well-Known Member
The main reason I've distanced myself from it somewhat over the past 5-10 years or so, is just because I don't like being labeled, boxed in or stereotyped. However, I think my name will always be associated with it anyway and there will always be an element of it in my work. So, I am excited about seeing new growth in Neo-Tribal and helping to change the way people think about it.

Innovation was always a big part of the original concept and I would like to see it become a more universal approach to hand craftsmanship, design, aesthetics etc.

If folks want to rally around it and use the name, feel like part of a larger group or bigger picture, I think that is fine.

To me, it isn't about being Neo-Tribal or conforming to preconceived ideas "about" it. It's being "of" it.
Very Well written.. Thank You KT
 

ChuckBurrows

Well-Known Member
It can be a way of life, however, it's a style too and can be learned as such. Lets just make cool stuff!!!!!
With all due respect I am not a "exclusive", but IMO that is part of the problem - Neo-Tribal is not just a style (a "collector's" definition not a maker's definition, but for me NTSM, is rather more an "attitude"/methodology/intent" than just a style.
One of the early "problems" with the Neo-Tribal MS "school" was many thought it was just a heat and bash and leave it look like "this" without the understanding good blade smithing (too often heat and beat it crap craftsmanship became clothed in the mantle of Ne-Tribal M/S, but by others, including collectors, not the practioners)
With all due respect to Tai and Tim and Dana Acker, et al, the original Neo-Tribalist Metalsmiths, but the methodology and intent is older than the NTMS movement, - Joe Keeslar, who as far as I know coined the term Brut de Forge, Herschel House and his brothers who created a whole school, The Woodbury School, of muzzleloading, which includes not just loading firearms but also knives, etc. which began in the 1960-1970's, and just like with the NTMS movement folks started trying to define it broad terms rather than that of the original intent.
So IMO no it is not a matter of "exclusiveness" (yes Tai and I are friends and colleagues and he is one of the most non-exclusive folks I know) but rather keeping to the original intent, unwatered down by others trying to define it "because" - if you feel that's exclusiveness than I all I can say is you do not understand the original intent or those who practice it still today -

and FWIW - Like Randy and Tai I eschew titles of any kind, in my experience over the last 50+ years of crafting, it is others that apparently have mis-construed the original intent and want to put the square peg in the square hole i.e. want/need to define things to the nth Degree

On the other hand if you want/need to define yourself than go for it, but realize that's all it is - a self-proclaimed intent....
 
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Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
Well I guess we can agree to disagree. :cool:
I think it can be both an aesthetic style and nothing more or can be as much as one wants to get involved in all aspects of "it". I just don't think it fair to say it's "more" than that to another, when it might not be to that person. Just like having "Modernest" furniture doesn't make me a "Modernist". I just like the look of the furniture.
I will retract the "ironic/ exclusivist" part of my previous post and apologize if it ruffled feathers. Re-reading it, it's didn't say what I was trying to convey and I can't come up with alternative words to do so. I do try to choose my words carefully, but that one slipped by. May have been the pinch of after dinner Scotch.... :biggrin:

So as a point of interest/ learning, what is the difference between, "Neo Tribal" and "Primitive", in terms of aesthetics? I'd guess "Primitive" is more closer to a "heat and bash" simple style than the more, from what I can see, decorative style of Neo.
Yes/no/ maybe?
 

One

Banned
Philosophically, "Primitive" looks to the past, whereas "Neo-Tribal" is of the present, looks towards the future, but also has roots in the past. "Primitive" would be more of a recreation, anachronism, or period piece based on primitive cultures.

Back in the mid 90s, there really weren't a lot of hammer finished knives being made in the USA, outside of a few who worked in the American Frontier genre. These knives were generally thought of as period pieces. What we were doing was trying to escape the cliches, modernize and universalize the hammer finished look. Although many folks still think "Neo-Tribal" is synonymous with hammer finished knives, or "Brut de Forge", it was never intended to be limited to that. After the hammer finished look was popularized, some of us started experimenting with a more refined version of "Neo-Tribal". It was at this point that there was a split in the group and those who were still promoting the hammer finished look, seemed to have a hard time accepting the more refined work as being "Neo-Tribal". So, some of us distanced ourselves from the name "Neo-Tribal" to pursue a different aesthetic and broaden the Neo-Tribal base. This was met with opposition, from the "Brut de Forge" camp, who seemed to think we had totally abandoned "Neo-Tribal" philosophy or aesthetics. It was the area of "process" that we still all had in common, limited (or no) power tooling, relying primarily on hand work. We all "hand forged" our blades very closely to shape, with minimal stock reduction.

Here are a couple recent examples of mine in both styles.





... and one "Cute de Forge".



... and one in a "Brut de Forge" American frontier style.



... All "of" Neo-Tribal.
 
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Bert the Welder

Well-Known Member
Thanks for taking the time to write that, One, really good info. It kinda jives with what I had perceived, from a simplistic visual point of view, as the melding of modern knowledge and "old" methods of making and decorating, if you will.
Makes me wonder if the Steam Punk genre hasn't taken cues front Neo-Tribal.

Lovely work, by the way. Some pieces I've seen in that genre, get to ornamented for my taste. But your examples show restraint and really makes them stand out.
It's too bad the two sides split over something like that. It seam a human condition that many want to hammer others into place and take any sort of change as an affront to their own thinking. I'd never work in totally "traditional" format of blacksmithing. I want to get from A to B. And if that requires Vice grips and a propane welding torch, so be it. BUT I'd never scoff at others and rigidly stick to "tradition". They're into it as a pure process. The romance of it.
I do particularly like the hammer marks on the Bowie. Just the right amount. That's what makes it art.
 

One

Banned
"There's a truth deeper than experience. It's beyond what we see, or even what we feel. It's an order of truth that separates the profound from the merely clever, and the reality from the perception." Shantaram
 
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