Bamboo Fly Rod Making…is it Art?


Do we call this a workshop or studio?

Cutter always tells people he wants to make bamboo fly rods when he grows up (and be an “army man”, fireman and hero). Yesterday, a woman was in the shop and she asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. Cutter quickly replied, “an artist.” I said, “I thought you wanted to be a bamboo fly rod maker like daddy?” Cutter said, “I do, daddy is an artist.” After gushing with pride over my son because of his word association, I started thinking about how dead-on he was about bamboo fly rod making being an art. Fly fishing is an art. Most of the fly fishers I know have two things in common…they are analytical and passionate people. Normally, life squeezes the artist out of us. I think that fly-fishing and subsequently bamboo fly rod making allows us to tap into that part of our heart that has always been there. We consider Bill an artist because of his talent and free hand engraving but it is clear (and often overlooked) that the making of a bamboo fly rod is a true art. Taking a piece of Tonkin Cane bamboo and sculpting it into an extension of one’s fly fishing self is art. Life is art.

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