Eyewear specialist Jamie Bartlett, and his long-lasting chef knifes
Sharpening your knifes, emptying your bank account
Interview by Hugo Ross
Photo by Jamie Bartlett
Jul 07, 2019
VM: Please choose an object(s) you most identify with.
JB: My set of Global kitchen knives
VM: Describe it, ‘objectify’ it and describe it in concrete terms.
JB: I bought these knives as I originally intended to become a chef when I was 15. I saved up to buy them with the money I had saved from the pot-wash job I had at the time. They’re a small set of 6 knives which I learned to use in the following years I spent working in the same kitchen.
Clearly, I never became a chef, but I carried the skills I had learned into many other aspects of my life. Primarily, practice and team-work but specifically to knives, I had learned how to use them properly and how to keep them sharp.
VM: Where did you get them? Or from whom?
JB: I bought them online with some of my first brown-envelope pay packets.
VM: What is your relationship with them?
JB: They say that you should never let anyone sharpen your knives, simply because they’ll do it differently to you. Apparently it’ll blunt or damage them. So when I sharpen them, I seem to always get slightly better at it too so it’s a long-term relationship that’s improved more and more over the 13 years I’ve had them.I thoroughly enjoy the sort-of primitive connection when I’m using and honing them. I find the process of maintaining them very therapeutic. When they’re sharp, I can use them in the knowledge that it was my doing.
VM: Where does it sit in your house?
JB: They sit aside from the other, less special knives in the kitchen. They have their own knife-block which posies them for everyday meal prep, which I have to say, makes them look important and well-kept.
VM: What is it you like best about the objects?
JB: They’re useful, well made and reliable. Most of all, I know I’ll have them for a long time.
VM: What have they come to mean to you over the years?
JB: They represent a companionship that you can build with daily-use objects, a companionship without shortcuts that makes you want to take care of something. It’s something that takes time and in my opinion, very few objects allow you to do that these days unless they’re made to last.
VM: Have they been a constant source of inspiration to you?
JB: Truthfully, no. They emptied my bank account when I was a teenager and for a while I wish I hadn’t bought them, especially since I never became a chef. But since then, I’ve come to realise how useful they’ve been and what they’ve provided me in terms of understanding practice, patience and how I should invest in similarly good things. It’s been a slow grow that I didn’t fully recognise until recently. Now I love them for all of the reasons I’ve mentioned.