The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Is It Scary When You Find Barbed Wire Interesting?
November 21, 2023, 7:45 am
Filed under: A Bit Of Inspiration, America, Comment, Craft, Creativity, Culture, Design

Recently I met someone called Jim, who designs – among other things – barbed wire.

When I was introduced to him, I first thought it was a pisstake.

I never thought of barbed wire being something designed … and I certainly didn’t think there would be different versions of it … but apparently there is, as demonstrated by the photo above that shows different barbed wire over the years.

But once I realised I was not part of an elaborate prank, I found the whole conversation with Jim fascinating. In his view, barbed wire is misunderstood … because while it is there to stop elements getting in – or out – its role is closer to survival than security.

Jim told me how the inventor of barbed wire – Lucien Smith – created it as a simple and effective way to keep cattle from straying. Prior to this, there was no practical or effective way to enclose vast amounts of land and so they had to engage in huge cattle drives for transporting – and controlling – cattle.

But with the invention of barbed wire, this all changed … to the point Jim regards barbed wire as playing a pivotal role in creating settlements across the American plains … which in turn, led to the creation of towns and cities.

As you may have worked out, Jim is a bit of an anorak where barbed wire is concerned … but I bloody loved the conversation – not to mention the way he approached barbed wire design – which all acts as a great reminder that while we all like to talk about creativity, there’s far more of it happening outside of the ad industry than inside it, and yet so little of the conversation ever acknowledges it, let alone celebrates it.

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