Music, Passion and the Process Vol.2

 (This article is from my newsletter #43 - view online or subscribe)


I have always had a strong passion for the process. This is where my creativity shines. From the first sketch over the last finishing technics to product photography and copywriting. It is all process and it is all a huge part of my life.
With this newsletter you get a look into my world of making.


The creative power of saying no

So what does creativity and saying no have to do with each other?

For any maker, taking orders can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, orders will give you some kind of financial security. On the other hand, orders can become an overwhelming hurdle that can drain you of creativity. Let me explain.

As a relatively young maker some 20 years ago, I engaged in the daring endeavor of becoming a full-time maker. I was hungry and somewhat insecure about what the future would bring. I had to find my footing in the world of custom knife makers. During these first years, I would accept any and all orders that came my way. Having a filled order book gave me assurance for the future. The bonus was that it helped me shape an opinion of what I enjoyed making and what I didn't.

Orders were something I had a love-hate relationship with. At this point, I was simply adding people interested in ordering to the end of a very long list. It didn't take long before I had more than a three-year delivery time. Most would probably see this as a wonderful opportunity and as close to a secure job as one can hope for in an industry like this. I have always felt extremely fortunate for the huge support from my customers. However, having an order book this long came with some challenges. First of all, people's taste changes over time. The other, and more important factor, MY taste changed over time. I was building knives I designed two to three years before and that didn't lend itself well to also expressing myself creatively. The only option was to stop taking orders altogether. Being so deep into an order book that would take several years to fulfill posed a situation that could potentially be a big problem. You cannot disappear for years while filling orders and then expect to still "be a thing" when you show up again. It was important to stay relevant, to attend shows, to have a presence in people's minds.

Now don't get me wrong. I love interacting with my customers and love to make orders but something had to change. I had to find a balance. I think I have solved it quite well by now. I am taking a limited amount of orders, from time to time for very specific models, keeping relatively short delivery times. What this allows me to do is keep being creative. I can make new models, change details on already exciting models, and I can accept new projects from time to time that allow me 100% creative freedom. Saying NO allows me to have the capacity of saying YES when it really matters. When I can't help but say yes. And I love saying yes.



Music has a huge effect on my creative process. I function best with a great beat playing. I wanted to give you a look into my taste of music and have created a playlist on Spotify for some of those shop tunes. I hope you will enjoy it. I would love to hear back from you if you have any music recommendations. This is my second playlist (Did you miss the first one? listen to it here: Playlist vol.1 )

Listen to my playlist: Anso on the Wheels of Steel vol. 2

Inspiration as a state of mind

I generally never seek specific inspiration for projects that I am working on. Instead I try to surround myself in the studio with cool furniture, books on architecture  and just cool object. Part of my inspiration also comes browsing various blogs on design, cars, lifestyle and architecture. Without any further introduction or explanations here is a selection of pictures that inspired me this month.




Random Fact #53

As a kid I collected matchboxes and had a collection of more than 1200 different from all over the world.


"An album cover for 600”


What’s on the bench

These days I am working on a bunch of folders at the same time. Most often I will pick out 3-6 orders and work on those. These days I am working on 10 ORSO ´s, 3 MOJO ´s and 14 CASlNO ´s and MONTE CARLO ´s . 


The coffee corner

I love coffee. I love the process of making a cup regardless if it is on my espresso machine in the kitchen or in the wild with my small gas stove and Aero press. This time around however I decided to stay in the studio but pretended I was outside. 



The difficult sequel. I was finally able to send out the second installment of  my new format newsletter. I hope you enjoyed it and want to remind you to “Always be Knolling!”

Jens Anso




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Jens & Karina