Wednesday, April 18, 2012

J.D. Ware, Artesano

''Hecho A Mano''...... Made by hand.

There is just something about those three words that tells you that what you are looking at is something special. In Mexico, it can be something as simple and satisfying as a good cigar or as complex as a finely woven Yucatecan hammock. Here, a lot of things are ''Hecho A Mano''.

We first met Jeff Ware at the AANY Show last year in Mérida. He had a display of pocket knives, kitchen knives and hunting / camping knives that were beautiful, sturdy, functional and sharp. They were all made by him, by hand.

Before Fathers Day rolled around that year, I knew that I wanted to get my father something special. Something from Mexico, our new home. Something ''Hecho A Mano''.

I contacted Jeff and told him what I was thinking about. A single blade pocket knife with a wood handle, engraving on the blade, and of course the silver escutcheon pinned to the handle with nickel silver pins (hammered and polished 1920's silver 10 centavo pieces that Jeff finds locally). I mentioned that my father was 80 years old and that it was a Fathers Day gift.

A couple weeks later I went to Jeff's shop to pick up the knife. I was amazed at the craftsmanship, how sharp it was, and just the feel of it in my hand. The handle was made from local Dzalam wood. Jeff explained how he had made the handle a little more slender so that it would be comfortable to carry. Noting my fathers age, he made the spring a little thinner so that it would be easier to open, the thumb notch on the blade was a little bigger and easier to grasp. He gave me a tour of his workshop and showed me the tools that he uses to make his knives.
I was very pleased with his work and I'm sure my father was as well.

Fast forward almost a year........When Sara was constructing her kitchen in Casa Sur, I knew that I had to get Jeff to make her a set of kitchen knives. She is quite the cook and a good set of knives are important.

It is a lengthy process to make these knives and I couldn't begin to explain it but you can read about it here. It is an interesting and informative read.

Here are some pictures of the process:

Jeff has quite an interesting and inspirational story about how he came to be a knife maker in Mérida, learning from a matchete maker in the mountains of Oaxaca years ago. You can read his story here .
Our knives will see alot of use and we are very proud to own them, as will our grandkids someday.
Thanks Jeff.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Testing, Testing.......Is This Thing On?.........Can You Hear Me?

Yesssss, We're still here. We have been inconsistent bloggers lately (our apologies to the people that commented and their comments were not published for a couple of months. We appreciate you.)

We have been busy enjoying our home, this great country, and most of all our family and friends.

I'm sure Sara will write more in detail about what's been going on the last several months but, in a nutshell we have:

1.Finished the reconstruction on the inside of our home.

2. Sara went to the States for a couple weeks and got our ''stuff'' shipped to Mérida (with great help from her sister, thanks Jerr.)

3. With a lot of help from friends, We got everything unpacked and Sara got it looking like a home.

4. My parents came to visit for a week, they're first time to Mérida.

5. Of course, we had to have a party while they were here, complete w/ a great mariachi band.

6. Spent a week of enjoying some of the local attractions.

Here are a few pictures we hope you enjoy:
Loading the shipping container in Texas

Headed to Mérida via Panama City and Progreso

 Mariachi's at the party

Yes, it was a good party !!

Hacienda Sotuta de Peon

My parents 

Old hacienda outside of Mérida

Flamingos at Celestun

Only in Mexico


Progreso beach and pier