Film ID:
YFA 3819

WITH THESE HANDS

1955

Visitor Tabs

Description

From the Eric Hall Collection, this is a documentary type film marking the passing of old crafts. The film gives examples of several old crafts, including processing wool, lacemaking, stonemasonry, dry stone walling and the woodcraft of Robert (Mousey) Thompson.

Title - A Hallmark Production - With These Hands
Photographed and Edited by J. Eric Hall

The film opens with building workers digging a hole for the foundations of a new house, using shovels and wheelbarrows.

Intertitle - The age of manual labour is being slowly superseded by one of mechanisation and science. . .

Earth is being moved by a large mechanical digger and placed directly into a lorry, and workmen are using pneumatic drills on a road. A scientist carries out various tests in a laboratory, mixing chemicals.

Intertitle - . . . age old crafts are dying out for the same reason. .

A man works an old fibre -wool picker /fleece blender /pre drum carder.

Intertitle - . . but the old crafts were, and still are, a testimony to a proud independence of spirit and a passionate love of tradition . . .

A fisherman repairs his net on a dock.

Intertitle - . . their proud independence and tradition is perfectly expressed by the hands and works of . . . that superb craftsman Richard (sic) Thompson master woodcarver.

Thompson stands in his garden rubbing his hands, and then we see one of his famous mouse carvings. One of his younger workmen chisels a chair leg, and some examples of other wooden carvings are shown. Another workman carves the signature mouse on a piece of furniture. A carving of a heraldic shield is shown, as is a chair with the letters 'BGGS' carved into it and also 1905 OGA 1955. A mouse ashtray is shown, before Thompson walks off near his house.

Intertitle - from the earliest times, the fleece of the sleep has proved well nigh indispensible to man . . .

A farmer shears a sheep with a pair of blade shears. He then rolls the fleece into a bundle. Dyed fleeces lay out on wooden benches. Another worker rubs down a fleece with a round metal implement. A woman brushes a fleece with a wool carder. A woman shows a woollen brush next to some fleeces. A man hand weaves cloth on an old loom.

Intertitle - For centuries the Englishman has practiced the art of hedge laying and dry walling.

Two men are constructing a hedge by stripping down branches and binding them together. Another man is sorting through stones to build a dry stone wall. He places the stones on the wall, using smaller stones to pack them in, and breaks bigger stones with a walling hammer. He shapes the stones to make a tight fit, and afterwards walks around the wall to inspect it.

Intertitle - The modern counterpart of these old crafts is executed with meticulous exactitude . . .

Two bricklayers are constructing a wall. One of them lays a line of bricks using his trowel to apply the cement and knock them into place.

Intertitle - Proud independence is shown by these basket and hat makers .- each bereft of sight . . .

Sitting outside his house, a man hand weaves a cane basket. His wife comes out and inspects one of his earlier efforts. Another man sits outside his shop, Edward Bye, and hand weaves a string mat.

Intertitle - . . . nimble hands and a retentive memory are required to make this beautiful pillow lace . . .

An elderly woman is lacemaking, winding the thread around a bobbin. With dozens of bobbins she weaves together the thread to make an intricate pattern. The process is shown in detail, followed by the finished products, including a pair of lace gloves.

Intertitle - With these hands the craftsman shapes the lures he plys upon the fickle stream . . .

A man is sitting at a desk, making fly fishing hooks with pieces of bird feathers, intricately tying the feather to the hook. He shows examples of ones that he has made. A man is then out on a river using the hooks fishing.

Intertitle - for of us today, have we the skill and patience required to make these beautiful book plates. . .

A man holds up to the camera an example of a book plate he has drawn. He is sitting out in his garden, drawing a book plate using traditional pen and ink. He makes very intricate flower pattern using a magnifying glass. He then shows an example of calligraphy in a book title on Wrought Iron, with illustrations. The onto a blacksmith's, where the blacksmith is making wrought iron, showing the finished article, a gate.

Intertitle - . . . and who shall doubt that we can find -sermons in stones, and good in everything" . . .

Some people walk through the yard of a cathedral, and workmen decorate a building with roses. A stonemason carves an inscription on a grave stone. Other examples of stone carvings are shown on grave stones. He shows some of the chisels he uses and demonstrates his craft.

Intertitle - But alas, in a busy progressive world science moves on apace . . .

Traffic goes around an ancient city square, and a glass pot bubbles and smokes in an experiment.

Intertitle - Overtaking, perhaps obliterating these age old crafts . .

The film returns to show short extracts from the lacemaking, woodcarving, the blacksmith and the stone mason.

Intertitle - Until, one wonders if the fire of progress burns too fiercely for man's well being.

The film returns to show the blacksmith's furnace and the roses, and finishing with the words carved on a gravestone, 'Some day, some time we'll understand'.

Title - The End