Karim Haddad, a CEO-turned-bladesmith working in the ACT’s Tharwa Valley, thinks peoples’ understanding of the work-life balance is all wrong. “Work-life balance is the wrong way to describe it” he says in this, the latest episode of Rough Hands by Liam Edward Brennan. “It’s about life balance. I work very hard here, I work a lot of hours, but my life is consistent. I’m not doing a day job that I spend my weekends escaping from.”
As he tells it, Karim was “genuinely surprised” the first time he made a knife. That’s not to say that it came about unexpectedly – he didn’t craft one in his sleep or under hypnosis. Rather, it astonished him that “after wrestling with this thing for several days, all these different bits actually came together and worked as a knife. What I’d made cut something. It stayed sharp”.
It’s safe to say that Karim has since raised his standards for what makes a good knife. As Brennan’s artful short film shows, cutting things just doesn’t cut it for his blades these days – they have to be strikingly elegant creations in their own right. Even so, Karim maintains that making takes backseat to first love: teaching. He wants people to tap into the sense of satisfaction that can come from making something by your own hand. The skills picked up aren’t what are important, but the enjoyment derived from the process.
All of which neatly fits in with Brennan’s original inspiration for creating the Rough Hands series. By profiling those who’ve decided to pursue what they love as a full-time career, he hopes to encourage people to create more in their everyday lives. We’ll be posting more of Brennan’s instalments as they come, but be sure to check out his previous shorts, as well as his other film work, here.