Three of the Last Remaining Craftsmen
David Stewart, Warren Mackenzie & Kazuo Myojin
Dedication, skill and intuition are just some of the qualities that make a craftsman a true master of his trade. As modern day technologies advance and the fascination with traditional handcrafted products takes a backseat in favour of faster, cheaper and more uniform commodities, it would seem the craft generation is a dying era.
However, across the globe there is still a small brigade of talented craftsmen who are responsible for creating some of the most sought-after products in the world. In the soon-to-be released short film by Rogan Productions Twilight of the Masters, three of these craftsmen and their plans to pass on knowledge to the next generation are revealed. The film uncovers the inner musings of three champions of the craft generation, all who have dedicated their lives to becoming the best in their field and creating outstanding products.
David Stewart – The longest serving Malt Master in the Scottish whisky industry
The Balvenie Distillery, Dufftown, Scotland
‘I have no reservations in saying that I have the best job in the world. There are only a handful of others in the industry doing the kind of job that I do and to hold this unique position makes me feel very proud.’
The first craftsman featured in Twilight of the Masters is David Stewart, a man who has dedicated his entire life to perfecting his skills as a malt-master. Having started work at the age of 17, David Stewart has served over 50 years at the Balvenie distillery. Located in Dufftown on Speyside, Scotland, The Balvenie is a 123-year old distillery that still preserves traditional whisky-making methods even with scale changes and technological advancement. The distillery still grows its own barley, uses traditional floor maltings and keeps both coppersmiths and coopers on-site. The Balvenie Whisky is among some of the most expensive whisky in the world, with their 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky selling for up to £33,000.
Decades of service and dedication to the art of his craft have meant David Stewart has become a pioneer in the industry, his craft has become second nature to him. In a celebration of David’s title as the longest serving Malt-Master in the Scottish whisky industry and to pass on his expertise, he has pioneered a new exclusive collection that compounds his lifetime achievements: The D.C.S Compendium. This collection is an unconventional handover in both written and liquid form that will see twenty-five rare and vintage casks, hand-picked by David Stewart, released over the next five years.
Warren Mackenzie – Master Potter and one-time apprentice of the late British master Bernard Leach
'I like a pot to be like a human being or a tree. The things around us - we are not symmetrical, exactly. Our movements are not mechanical.'
Highly regarded as one of the greatest masters of 20th Century ceramic art, Warren Mackenzie’s work can be found in many major museums across the globe, commanding extremely high prices amongst art collectors. Born in 1924 in Kansas City, Missouri, Warren MacKenzie studied ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He then went on to become an apprentice of the late British master Bernard Leach. As one of America’s greatest living potters, Warren has become an inspiration to a new generation of ceramic artists, all eager to immerse themselves in his work and continue his legacy.
Twilight of the Masters delicately captures Warren’s dedication to his craft and his belief that pottery should be utilitarian and not art-oriented. In recent years, to make a statement against people buying his work as collector’s items, Warren stopped stamping his pots.
Kazuo Myojin, Knife & Samurai Sword Master
‘It’s my craft so I will do it as long as I live, I will never retire. I am thinking about making the best products. That’s the only thing on my mind. I am completely focused on my work.’
The final and most mysterious craftsman in Twilight of the Masters is Kazuo Myojin, a knife and sword master who learnt his craft in Sakai City, Osaka. Living in isolation in Susaki, little is publically known about Kazuo other than that he is one of the best in his field. The film shows the passing on of his skills to son and apprentice Takeshi Myojin, not through teaching him with words but by showing him how to develop an understanding of his craft and intuition. Like David Stewart and Warren Mackenzie, Kazuo Myojin has dedicated a lifetime to staying true to traditional methods of craftsmanship and producing a superior product unlike any other.
Twilight of the Masters is due to be released online on Monday 16th November 2015. Follow Rogan Productions on Vimeo to be among the first to watch it.