An artisan is… ‘a skilled craft worker who makes or creates things by hand that may be functional or strictly decorative. Artisans practice a craft and may, through experience and aptitude, reach the expressive levels of an artist.’
It’s an old word that still carries quite a lot of currency in these modern, start-up times
We uncover a number of artisan’s stories at TML, from the well established multi national brands which usually started in a tiny cramped studio in Paris a century or so ago (M Louis Vuitton and his saddles) to the lonely creators of today, quietly working away in their private space, driven by…God only knows what.
Love. We suppose. A love of what they do, a love of working with their hands, a love of the very act of creation.
One such artisan we recently came in contact with is Ross Batten. Ross, or Rosco as he prefers, handcrafts timber eyeglass frames to create something you have never seen before.
Before we talk about Airframes (his brand) we need to talk about Rosco: happy, inquisitive, enthusiastic, helpful and talented, with an artist’s eye and an engineer’s brain.
His 10,000 hours to perfection started as a young boy spending every spare moment designing and building model airplanes (I used superglue and preformed plastic, but to each his own), followed by more years designing and constructing weight driven, pendulum regulated wooden clocks that look like traditional Swiss Cuckoo clocks on acid. But he understands more than wood, as a teenager, with his father, he built a car (not a kit car or a renovation) from nothing. (I had trouble finding the dip stick)
His skills and passion have been developing for years.
Airframes are bespoke, each pair made from scratch to suit your face and personality. They are made from Aircraft grade Birch ply that is hand laminated to create a frame that is lighter and stronger but at the same time more flexible than other wood framed glasses. They can either be Molded Cut or Billet Cut. The former uses fine grain wood and thin layers of ply to allow the frames to have thin, elegant rims and design with beautiful detail.
The Billet Cut creates a unique look, pioneered by AirFrames. Billet Cut frames have a wonderful deep grain banded look that literally glows in the sun and can only be appreciated in real life.
Of course, Ross himself designed and constructed the machine he uses to shape the designs.
What’s not to love about these exquisite designs and the superb craftsmanship? Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes is a recent customer who wrote
“The Sunglasses made their way to Sunny Spain in fine condition. They are a work of art and I am touched that you went to all that effort…”
“All that effort”…is the amount of consultation and work that Ross puts into the creation of each pair. His process involves and interacts with the client…he needs to know everything from colour and design preferences to face shape and the essence of your personality. The result is a pair of glasses that are uniquely ‘you’.
Airframes are meticulous in their creation, spring hinges create a secure and snug fit to your head, while the ‘hangar’ case, finishes the story. If you need eyeglasses but don’t really appreciate magnificent workmanship, go to any number of optical stores in the countless suburban malls, you’ll find what you want. But if you think that eyeglasses make a statement about who you are, go here, instead.