David Shaw-Smith shares his stories of making films about the crafts and craftsmen that he loves and admires.
Dubliner David Shaw-Smith joined RTÉ television when it began in 1961. In 1970 he set up his own film production company producing documentary series such as 'Hands', 'Patterns' and 'Dublin A Personal View' for RTÉ.
The series 'Hands' looked at the arts and crafts which have been handed down from generation to generation. Many of these traditional crafts are now in danger as technology develops new methods of production.
David Shaw-Smith, along with fourteen writers and experts, is now publishing a book based on the series 'Hands', called 'Ireland's Traditional Crafts'.
His first film 'Connemara And It's Ponies' (1972) had great success and was broadcast on network television in the United States. In total, he has made twenty eight documentaries in the 'Hands' series.
I was very concerned that these wonderful traditional crafts would disappear without a record.
Working as a freelance cameraman for RTÉ, David Shaw-Smith travelled the country where he witnessed first hand the craftsmen at work. He became determined to make a series of films about them but needed to raise money to fund the productions.
While he believes that it is absolutely inevitable that some of these crafts will disappear, there is no reason why they should all die. There is still a need for the work of the cooper and other such crafts.
David Shaw-Smith describes the joy and privilege of filming these craftsmen at work.
Once the craftsman realises that you are as interested in his craft and in him as a person and what he's doing, it really helps matters enormously.
He recalls filming a family of bachelor weavers, who would get down on the knees each night to recite a decade of the rosary. While this was not part of their craft it was included in the film as an important part of their lives.
He is excited by and interested in many crafts from throwing pots to instrument making. His own personal hobbies include tying fishing flies and wood turning.
David Shaw-Smith is grateful to people like the Kilkenny Design Centre for helping to preserve many of the crafts which are the subjects of his films.
This episode of the Late Late Show was broadcast on 12 May 1984. The presenter is Gay Byrne.