Last night, I watched a few episodes of “Forged in Fire” the History Channel show where bladesmiths are asked to forge a knife and then the final two are sent home to recreate a larger, more complicated historical weapon. I absolutely love shows where craftsmen, artists, fashion designers and even chefs have to make things.
It’s fascinating to see their creativity at work — how their minds work to conceptualize something, often pulling it out of thin air / with inspiration from something completely unrelated. Equally as impressive is the technical skill to move metal, build something, stitch together a dress, cook a dish, etc.
The shows that do it best are the ones that give you more of a window into the creative process. Blown Away, a glass blowing competition on Netflix does a fantastic job having the craftsmen and craftswomen explaining their concept and inspiration as they draw their design before picking up their tools. Songland, a song-writing show on NBC (sadly cancelled after two seasons), does something similar — you watch music producers take a rough cut of a song and do things like, “what if we added these 16-bars before the pre-chorus” and noodle around with a song to make a finished single.
It’s really cool to see masters at work. It creates a newfound respect for the intricacies and complexities of what they do. And I’ll reiterate: I really enjoy watching their brains work, for lack of a better phrase. They are wired so differently from the “average” human and make connections between ideas and concepts in ways that I would never think to make.
Here’s an incomplete list of shows that I think fit the bill, in case you needed something new to watch: Blown Away, Metal Shop Master, Songland, Forged in Fire, Making It, Chopped, Supermarket Stakeout, Final Table, Next in Fashion, and Making the Cut.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. I’ll add them in the comments and please do the same with shows in this vein that you enjoy.