Something I have been noticing over the last couple of years is really starting to bother me. I’m seeing novice whipmakers on the web and on eBay trying to peddle whips that look like garbage all while proclaiming themselves to be “master whipmakers.”
I’ve been making nylon whips for the better part of 20 years now and I still won’t assign to myself the title of master whipmaker. Why? Because I am always learning! I haven’t mastered all there is to know about whipmaking, so why give myself that title? If others want to call me an artist or a master, I am okay with that: people are entitled to their opinion of me, good or bad. All I do is make the best whip that I know how to make.
Frankly, I believe it is dishonest for a person to self-assign himself the title of master while turning out a product that looks like it was made by a beginner. I’ve seen some of these self-proclaimed masters turn out whips with horrible tapers, lumpy thongs, jacked-up looking turksheads, and big gaps in the plaiting. These are mistakes of a novice, not the work of a master whipmaker.
Here’s a tip for you, something you can apply to crafts of all kinds: A master won’t have to tell you he’s a master, his work and reputation will speak for itself. Some of the most talented craftsmen I know -true masters- are the most humble people I’ve ever met. They’re awesome at what they do, but their ego is not over-inflated. When you look at their work, you can see it was made by someone who knows well their respective craft; they don’t have to say a word. So when you come across a self-proclaimed master -buyer beware!