Did you learn from a master?
Although I grew up in a family of craftsmen, I do not remember having had a master craftsman as reference. As a student, I discovered that cabinetmaking is the consecutive transfer of planes, in which the final shape of the object pre-exists in the previous plane. The perfection of the object is each and the sum of all these planes. Each step then demands perfection in itself. Each step is the object.
Why did you choose this profession?
Like most of the decisions I have made in my life I followed my intuition. I started working with wood as a child and later I dedicated myself to design, performance art, cultural management and teaching, among other trades. I have always focused on all these activities with the attitude of an artisan, seeking perfection, observing, imitating and repeating.
Un Trabajo Feliz©Juan Alcón Durán
How is your trade linked to the region where you live?
On the Costa da Morte in Galicia, where I live, artisanal boatbuilding has a long tradition and some of my works have been inspired by its constructive methods, but in general my work does not respond to the Galician specificities. This does not mean that the region does not have an influence on me. For example, the climatic conditions, the high degree of humidity or the available woods influence my work.
How do you express tradition and innovation in your work?
The potential for true innovation in crafts lies not in form or design but in introducing the artisan attitudes as universal tools into the toolbox with which we construct future. The best form of innovation that craftsmanship can bring comes from the values it offers in its practice: doing well for the sake of doing well, the search for integrity and perfection, patience and intuition, the care of resources and the process.