I am curious what readers think, and I am offering this with a request for feedback, and to stimulate conversation. Is it useful to use the term "deep" in place of more common terminology like "quality"? Is it useful to describe what we might find on Etsy as being shallow in comparison to one's own work? Is the "inclination to make" a condition that naturally pushes the craftsman's work toward gradual improvement? In watching this video, I was reminded of design schools where the objective is often to be radically different in one's work, rather than to progress in an evolutionary manner. Would another term that we might use to explore craftsmanship, be mature? Could one say that as one matures as a craftsman, a person might be driven toward some level of consistency in both effort and quality?
I suspect that development is most often arrested by success. Any thoughts? Share your own in the comments below.
Randall sent a link to a New York Times article suggesting that faster and more efficient is often not better. Let’s Be Less Productive by Tim Jackson.
It is the accuracy and detail inherent in crafted goods that endows them with lasting value. It is the time and attention paid by the carpenter, the seamstress and the tailor that makes this detail possible. The same is true of the cultural sector: it is the time spent practicing, rehearsing and performing that gives music, for instance, its enduring appeal. What — aside from meaningless noise — would be gained by asking the New York Philharmonic to play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony faster and faster each year?An earlier blog post from this site is related to both of the items featured above. If its baroque, fix it, which is about "slow making".
The endemic modern tendency to streamline or phase out such professions highlights the lunacy at the heart of the growth-obsessed, resource-intensive consumer economy. Low productivity is seen as a disease. A whole set of activities that could provide meaningful work and contribute valuable services to the community are denigrated because they involve employing people to work with devotion, patience and attention.
But people often achieve a greater sense of well-being and fulfillment, both as producers and consumers of such activities, than they ever do in the time-poor, materialistic supermarket economy in which most of our lives are spent.
On yet another subject (not completely unrelated), while Mitt Romney claims that class size doesn't matter a whit, he chose to send his own children (all boys) to Belmont Hill, a school that advertises a class size of less than twelve and offers woodworking. What's good for the goose, ought to be good for the gander, but that seems not to be the case in American politics. Certainly, Romney could claim that his own children are special and more deserving of the best he can afford, but that flies in the face of what Dewey had said:
"What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children. Any other ideal for our schools is narrow and unlovely; acted upon it destroys our democracy."In my own shop today, I have been applying Danish oil to the jewelry boxes I've been making as shown in the photo below:
Make, fix and create...