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Inner View with Jeff Hatton, "the gnome"

 
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adam
hobbyist tinkerer


Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 2625
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:17 pm    Post subject: Inner View with Jeff Hatton, "the gnome" Reply with quote


Jeff Hatton casting at Colorado Rodmakers Reunion 2007


Demonstrating motised handle technique

Jeff's History of Rod Crafting Display



10 Questions with Jeff Hatton

adam wrote:
Hello Jeff, nice to talk with you again. I enjoyed your presentation at CRR 07 on *mortised handle technique and the wonderful History of Rod Crafting Display. Can you tell me how you came to know so much about fishing?


gnome wrote:
Adam Thanks for having this talk with me. The Knowledge I have at this point is the results of a life long passion with fishing. From my earliest memories I have always had a deep curiosity with water and fish. And My dad and brothers fueled the fire with our many fishing and hunting trips while I was growing up.


adam wrote:
...and who has influenced you most?


gnome wrote:
My dad Jack , my brothers Bob and Dick.

From Mom and Dad I have receieved my love of the outdoors (also my first bamboo rod which I still have) and also a pretty good value system and from my brothers comes a certain degree of rebelliousness and ability to step outside of the box and think for myself. And a list of anglers that goes clear back to Martial and Aelienus in the ancient times to A.K. Best and John Betts and A.J.Campbell and Micheal Sinclair of the modern times.

My abilities as a fly tier where started by my dad after I was given Dicks fly tieing tools and materials after his death in Thailand in 1971. A.K. refined my talents to a very fine edge in the early 1980's and i owe him a huge thanks for that. My love for the history of this has always been with me and it was fueled buy the works of Michael Sinclair and A.J.Campbell and also Martin Keane. And the writers of old such as VanDyke and Ronalds and Markham and many many others.


adam wrote:
I am intrigued with your moniker, "the gnome" Can you tell us how you came to that name.


gnome wrote:
A Good friend from High school on the very first day we met; I was setting on the heat register and this guy walks up and points at me and says "Gnome" and my reply was to call him a "Gnoll" (A large humanoid halfdog half man thing) and at that point I met one of my best and oldest freinds and his name is Rich Foster. It mostly comes from playing Dungeons and Dragons in high scool. But the gnome's outlook on life fits mine and the nickname has been with me for 29+ years and I celebrate it unmercilessly now and with great glee as one thing we tend to forget is this fishing stuff is all about having fun.


adam wrote:
I am interested more and more in the mortised handle on a fly rod. I began scouring the internet for as much information as I could find. I found an article of a pair of rods that you had made for a couple in Singapore. I am floored by what I found in that link. Brilliant work Jeff. Can you give us an idea of what goes into this sort of project?


gnome wrote:
Building the Elven Wand and The Drow Elf where one of the greatest pleasures of my life as Arthur challenged me to celebrate a man that I have admired all of my life and that is J.R.R.Tolkien and his works the Hobbit and The Lord of the rings. The connection that we developed as we discussed the rods and how they should be built was a magical thing in itself (I now count Arthur and Michelle and the kids as family). Arthurs work as an Architectural engineer and his designs and thoughts played a big part in the project and also having Tolkiens works to draw from allowed for an almost endless list of possibilities for that pair of rods. I tried to give an elven feel to the wand and it was from a wood elves perspective with the greens and golds ands grays of the woods of Lothlorien while the drow or dark elf is definitly a darker being but has incredible versatility. A lot of time scratching your head going "what have I gotten myself into"


adam wrote:
Have you made any other theme rods?


gnome wrote:
I have my first themed rod and it is a commemorative piece based on the 1876 centennial exposition rod made for Abbey & Imbrie by Hiram Leonard and also the works of the Phillippe family Samuel and Solon of Easton Pa. circa 1860-1870's. This rod has the very first fully carved form fit case ever done and it is a wild rose vine wrapped around the case with moveable leafs with hidden rare earth magnets for latches to hold the rod sections in place.








adam wrote:
Having visited Paonia, Colorado last year, I have fallen in love with the town. The surrounding mountains are beautiful. I've been coming to Colorado since the seventies to snowsurf, hang glide and now fly fishing. Do you have any other pursuit in the mountains? Skiing, mountain biking?


gnome wrote:
Hunting with Dad and my friends,Turkey, Deer, Antelope, Bear, Elk etc and this year the pine squirrels are in trouble as I am out of my favorite dubbing material.

I do mountain bike a bit and also like to get my yearly spring adrenaline rush in the whitwater. And I do love to pack my camera around with me and I shoot a lot of pictures. Also help a good friend out on his small place with farming and raising a few cows. Help out with local TU projects etc.


adam wrote:
Let me personally thank you for the work that has gone into your collection. I admire your detailing the history of fly fishing. It was amazing to see the priceless collection on a grass roots basis. Is there any plan to house the collection? In a museum?


gnome wrote:
Adam, Thank you and I do feel it is part of our communal angling history and thus does belong to all of us on a certain level.

One of my fondest dreams is to see my collection forming the base of a museum in western Colorado devoted to angling through history. It will go visit the Catskill Fly Fishing Heiritage center and museum this fall for a short term visit.


adam wrote:
Your book, "Rod Crafting, A Colorful Pictorial History from 1843 - 1960" is also amazing. I'm sure there is a good story in the making of that book. Would you care to share one with us?


gnome wrote:
well one story is this; One afternoon I and my best friends John Oppenlander and Richard Collar had the great pleasure of visiting Harmon Leonard who is the grand nephew of Hiram Leonard. We where allowed into Harmon's inner sanctum and the walk through history was mind boggling to say the least.

There was one of only five remaining bronze revolutionary war cannons in existence (it is now in the foyer of the NRA museum for all to see and enjoy) and there was the pair of Windsor chairs (I was allowed to sit in one) and the creel and fly box's from Hiram and his nottingham reels.

And the incredible honor of holding a pistol and the family history of it and its mate and the belt and holsters in the form of a signed purchase order by General George Washington. That pair of pistols went across the Delaware river in the same boat as Washington.

Or being photographed holding a double rifle made by Hiram Leonard and I held it in close to same position as he held it 140+ years earlier.

"What a Rush"


adam wrote:
In a telephone conversation with John Betts, it was mentioned to me that loose ring guides are overlooked by modern fly rod makers. I cast a little rod of yours that had loose ring guides and although the rod was not of modern conventional construction, from a knee, it was interesting to cast and did lay out some line for the length of the rod. Would you care to comment on loose ring guides?




gnome wrote:
The rod you are referring to is a 5'8" staggered spliced joint 4 strip purpleheart 6 strip tonkin cane tipped rod. Its first fish was caught there at the gathering and was a noble whitefish of about 16" and it jumped twice and even spooled me twice and made me chase it down the river.

The limiting factor when you cast the rod was how I had it set up to accurately portray how a rod was in 1800. The reel on the rod was screwed to the blank through the reel foot with two screws. The line was very short at about 45' to 50'. I have cast that rod with a modern line on it in excess of 80 feet and that is with the hanging rings. I fished that rod alot this last year and if you are using a knotless system the hanging rings function admirably well and to the point if they are oversized you will notice almost no difference from the hanging ring to a snake. I know that is heresy But I also love single foot SIC guides and I use them almost exclusively on my rods.


adam wrote:
Jeff, thank you for your time and effort here and what you do for the community at the different gatherings with your presentation. I'm just curious, what do you have in mind for fly fishing as you grow older?


gnome wrote:
I would love to travel to singapore and catch some truly exotic fish and visit adopted family and friends there. I am also working on some radical new things and one is a new style of building with bamboo and the initial efforts show promise. And just get out more and enjoy that time with good company and in those special places.


*From Todd Talisma's - Power Fibers, the article originally appeared in Volume 22


Last edited by adam on Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Troutgetter
ratonero de bambú


Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2108
Location: A Quarter Mile From Heaven

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a wonderful "inner-view!"
And yet, I feel there is so much missing!
I've been privileged to know Jeff for a couple of years and had NO idea he even had brothers!
And I'll say this...even though Paranoia, CO wouldn't rent a room to me for the night, it IS a wonderful, home town...er, town!
Hell, I wouldn't rent a room to me either!
Thanks to you Jeff for sharing a bit of your life and thank you Adam for asking the questions.

Mike
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adam
hobbyist tinkerer


Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 2625
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...now that I think of it, the parking lot was empty, it was early in the day and the lady was watching us the whole way in as we parked.

I forgot about that Mike.

Anyway, I appreciate the thanks from you, that is for sure.

I really like what Jeff does, I enjoy his words on the subject and that damn collection of his is like the Holy Grail, Arc of the Covenant and Excaliber all in one.
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MikeM
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Adam:

That was a great interview. I know very little about the art - I just feel happier every time I fish with my 'boo. This interview helped me 'see' a bit more from the craftsman/artists' perspective.

Yes, I am using the term artist on purpose. I know this rubs some the wrong way, but to me, its usable art.

MikeM
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adam
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 2625
Location: Phoenix, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeM, you are a good guy.

You don't have to worry about your statement.

MikeM wrote:
I know this rubs some the wrong way, but to me, its usable art.


...the guy you are referencing, well, he is directly responsible for the reasoning why this web site is what it is. I'm glad he is who he is and says and does the things he does. If it were not for him, I might have been complacent and continued on in another direction.

For me, just about everything has reason and it all intertwines.

From a very well respected maker, I listened as he passionately spoke to the effect that when a child ties a string on a stick and fishes with it, he is a maker...

What I have found in life is that we are a product of our choices.

Lot's of makers do not acknowledge that makers who only make a few rods are makers... Those people know who they are, I know who they are and I know who I am. The problem is not in the word "maker" nor is it the person who claims to be a maker, the problem is where the problem was identified as a problem.

I don't see a problem.

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. There is a beautiful painting on a blank canvas to the artist, a wonderful reel seat in a gnarly hunk of wood, an awe inspiring sculpture in a block of marble and the artists uses his or her skill to bring it out. When I look at the culms in my shop, I see a lot of fly rods... For some, this is craftsmanship and it is, to others, art.

Personally, I would like to make everyone in the world happy with what I say, with what I do yet I am comfortable in the knowledge that there are people who just aren't happy with themselves or feel the need to argue or exert their angst.

What I have found is that word "art" is as widely interpretable as the language of words allows.

I respect the craftsman who has the tenacity to make a fly rod in bamboo, they are artists although they may only be making paint brushes, their art allows others to paint and oh so well.

Jeff Hatton is an artist who makes bamboo fly rods.

That was a really easy and simple as well as a thought out statement that I will ever make about bamboo.

Take care Mike.
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HortonCreek



Joined: 16 May 2007
Posts: 103
Location: The Very Flat Midwest

PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:16 pm    Post subject: Hatton Reply with quote

Jeff is an artist whose medium happens to be bamboo fly rods. What I respect about him is that he is his own person. He essentially reincarnated mortised rods to the forefront yet tries desperately to convince you to consider single foot Sic guides because he is just as concerned with rod performance. (Sorry Jeff I just can't get over the look of single footers. They may well perform better but a new Camaro goes 0 to 60 a lot faster than a '68 but I will take a 68 over a new one any day).

I spoke with Jeff the other day and he has been quite busy in his cave this winter due to all the snow. Jeff does not just borrow from the past and mesh it with the future..... he is also wildly innovative. I wish I could explain more but suffice it to say he has a few more tricks up his sleeve that when he is ready will bewilder many.
HC
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Troutgetter
ratonero de bambú


Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2108
Location: A Quarter Mile From Heaven

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw this and had to share!
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Gerard
Canebum


Joined: 01 Jul 2007
Posts: 483
Location: Cape Town, South Africa

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troutgetter wrote:
Saw this and had to share!


That was worth at least 3.01 minutes of fishing time with my favourite bamboo on my favourite stream...!

…why do we always forget the landing net? Laughing
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Troutgetter
ratonero de bambú


Joined: 07 May 2007
Posts: 2108
Location: A Quarter Mile From Heaven

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL!
That fish almost took poor old Jeff's pecker off!
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JeremyG
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Troutgetter wrote:
Saw this and had to share!


DAMN!! I thought I was doing good w/a 6 1/2 lb LM bass on my Sage SPL 1wt! This was one big pike!

This entire thread was really good to read as I've talked w/Jeff before (briefly) but have read him the last few years. Nice. Thanks.

Jeremy.
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