For some, a creative journey will take them down a single, narrow path. For Tobias Taane, a series of accidental discoveries channelled his interests from ballet dancing, to painting, to blacksmithing.
Tobias grew up in Thames in the Coromandel where he studied classical ballet. After four years the culture and personalities involved in dancing started to clash with him so he decided to move to Wellington with his partner. He discovered The Learning Connexion and made a hasty decision to enrol in the Certificate programme weeks before the intake was due to begin.
Tobias had dabbled in painting and drawing all his life and came to The Learning Connexion to become a painter. One day, he spotted the forging studio at the school and decided to give it a go. He hasn’t picked up a paintbrush in two and a half years.
“It was all a huge accident really, but I haven’t looked back. I love getting my hands dirty and just doing it."
In the forge he met students Shea Stackhouse and Reagan Bregman who introduced him to knifemaking. He has spent the last few years hammering steel recycled from truck springs into blades, crafted in styles such as an 11th century longsword or a Pompeii gladius.
“There’s such a fascinating history behind knives and swords."
Instead of starting on pen and paper, Tobias usually prefers to work hands on, letting his ideas take form through process. But this year he enjoyed the challenge of creating design concepts on paper for the TLC Concept Art Challenge.
The brief called for designs for salvaged, improvised weapons for the locally made feature film, Rivet. Tobias designed an axe made from bike gear bound to a handle, and a flail made from an axel chained to copper piping. When his designs were picked he brought them to life as prototypes.
As an introvert, Tobias doesn’t like talking about his art. Fortunately, he has found that by putting photographs of his work online, his art can speak for itself. He regularly makes sales of his knives and metalwork on his Facebook fan page.
Tobias has enjoyed the freedom afforded by The Learning Connexion to work independently and to try out different classes. “Don’t expect yourself to come out doing the same thing you do at the start – be free and loose, try things out, you never know, you might like them.”
Tobias’s future remains as fluid and dynamic as his present. He’d love to own his own forge at home and continue to sell knives and swords online, but also enjoys blacksmithing with wrought iron. He is considering studying chemistry at university, and has put in an application with Weta Workshop to make weapons and armour for films.
If you’d like to enquire about studying at The Learning Connexion School of Art and Creativity, call us on 0800 278 769, or email us at email@example.com.