Mass production marks much of Detroit’s later history, and even today the city is still a hot destination for manufacturing. However, there are always people who refuse to adopt modern methods, preferring to make their artisan products by hand.
One such craftsman, Eric Gorges, is a Detroit native on a mission to spotlight the modern artisan community.
He’s doing this through his public television show, “A Craftsman’s Legacy.” Last September, Gorges and his team hit the road, filming on location across the U.S. Featured in the show are the men and women who prefer to make their living by making goods with their hands.
Gorges is currently wrapping up season two of “A Craftsman’s Legacy,” which will air weekly on Detroit Public Television Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. starting October 5. In case you miss an episode, you can catch the show again each Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m.
“We are so excited to bring Season Two to air. In a disposable, ‘get it when you want it’ world, our craftsmen and women have important stories to tell,” Gorges said. “I hope viewers will be entertained, inspired and reminded of the value of fine craftsmanship – and I hope some will even be encouraged to try their own hand at it.”
The show follows Gorges as he explores a variety of crafts, including shoemaking, bicycle building, clock making, and fashioning suits of armor. Each of the 13 episode features in-depth conversations with the artisans and hands-on learning for Gorges.
When he’s not filming, Gorges builds one-of-a-kind motorcycles by hand at his store, Voodoo Choppers. However, he hasn’t always been a craftsman. In the late 90s, Gorges left a lucrative corporate career after a health crisis. Instead of returning to corporate America after regaining his health, Gorges decided to get in touch with Ron Fournier at Fournier Enterprises in Shelby Township.
There, Gorges learned the art of metal shaping and started handcrafting hot rods. After working with Fournier, Gorges left to start Voodoo Choppers in April 1999.
“A Craftsman’s Legacy” is a chance for Gorges to visit some of America’s best craftsmen and share ideas while reigniting the interest and appreciation for handmade goods.
“I’m all for innovation and technology, but like most Americans, I really appreciate an object that took the time to imagine, design and create with two human hands. There is nothing like handcrafted work. It begs you to touch it, hold and admire it.”