Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SPYY 'eh': completion

this guy is leaving his home in canada tomorrow and will arrive the 23rd (merry christmas, me)!

made of solid oak, take-apart design, and replaceable hemlock axles, this is it. this is the yo-yo i'm using for the entire year of 2012. i do have an identical backup if i should destroy one utterly, but both of my glued-axle oak spyys are still kicking after 6 months, so i should make this guy last.

these are not for sale. they are not being produced. making this kind of fixed axle yo-yo is time consuming and not cost-effective. i have a spare and steve has one of his own, but beyond that, there are no plans to revisit this on any kind of scale. my apologies if you were hoping they'd be on yoyoexpert for $19.99 or something.

there's a great chapter in the book 'the princess bride' by william goldman (the book is arguably better than the movie, which is a classic), in which background is given for the character, inigo. though it didn't make the film, it describes his life as the son of a master swordmaker living quietly in the hills above toledo. domingo montoya makes the greatest swords since excalibur, but, in the effort to avoid attention which might detract from his craft (he doesn't call himself an artist), he allows another maker to sell his swords as his own.

somehow it gets out to a rich swordmaster that domingo is the real deal, and count rugen shows up requesting a sword which would match his 'peculiarities'. domingo denies having any great skill and tries to persuade rugen to visit yeste in madrid, until rugen shows his 6-fingered right hand. then it's on. not only does domingo admit to being the 'genius of the hills', he accepts the job for nothing (allowing a single gold-piece as a deposit, at rugens urging), and tells the count to 'come back in a year'.

then, for the next year, inigo watches as his father essentially beats himself into ruin in making the sword. he took the job due to the implicit challenge of making a perfect sword for a 6-fingered hand. for an amateur, any long-handled cleaver would be fine. but for a master to reach his potential, the entire sword would have to be reimagined from the ground up. all of the measurements would have to balance each other seamlessly. in the end, after peaks of elation and valleys of terrible frustration, inigo wakes in the night to find his father staring, becalmed, at his creation. 'finally, inigo,' he says, 'i am an artist.'

i'm not a master. i don't have 6 fingers. i'm also not going to kill steve like rugen did domingo and provoke the eternal revenge of his sons who would eventually do me in (god, i love that movie).

in terms of how this whole affair pertains to steve's craft, though... i feel like there's some balance. i went to him with what i thought was a simple request; to basically punch out a few more wood halves from his drill press. he did like a hundred for his wedding. we cranked out 12 or so in an hour at canada nats. he could have settled.

instead, he hit it with trial and error for a month, working late into the night and giving up his lunch breaks to make, essentially, the best all-wood yo-yo he could. everybody has something they really care about (or everybody should). i think in some aspect of our lives, we all need to adopt that stance of 'no-compromise' to arrive at our potential (as craftsman, as artists, as yo-yoers, or just as people). compromise is not a bad thing, but in terms of our approach to ourselves; our self-improvement and sense of self-worth, it's a tantalizing poison.

i guess this whole project germinated from the idea of no-compromise (of a different sort), and i'm thrilled that the same spirit was present through the birth of this yo-yo.


Apie said...

You killed my Father. Prepare to die.

SPYYcanada said...

Ed, your craft has always inspired me, so I'm grateful to contribute in this small way. It could have been any wood yoyo, but you gifted me the opportunity to explore something I've never done before. The project turned into a small pilgrimage of sorts and for that I'm very thankful. Good luck with it, Ed.