Daniel T. Beck wrapped up his time here at Kohler this week and headed back to North Carolina. He brought a good eye, great hand skills, and bottomless focus and industriousness to this project. More than all that, though, Daniel brought almost impossibly high standards for his own work and for the project as a whole. I can’t overstate how much credit he deserves for the success of this residency up to this point and how much he will deserve for the quality of the final product.
Every day he tweaked the process in clever little ways that kept things running smoothly. This brush holder on the mold soap spray bottle is one of my favorites. It just bugged him that it kept disappearing. Daniel has little patience for inefficiencies.
And yet, he loves work done by people, by hand – in a way, the ultimate inefficiency. This might seem like a contradiction in his personality and maybe it is, but I find it life affirming. Early in January we were carving models when a group of foreign tourists came through. One man couldn’t understand that we were doing the whole process by hand. “But,” he kept asking, “when do you put it in the machine?” As the month went on, our joking turned into a mantra: “We are the machines!”
We drove each other to new levels of workmanship with a healthy mix of competition and mutual inspiration. And it was a lot of fun, too. You’ll be missed here on the casting floor, Daniel! All I can say is: “We’ll try, the best that we can, to carry on.”