|The barely-crafted box.|
And so the challenges of being a craftsman in America live on. We aspire to growth in craftsmanship as evidence of accomplishment and value within our culture. But by investing in craftsmanship, we make our products more expensive than the market can grasp. We've gotten so used to machined perfection, that there is no longer much understanding of human craft or of its value to the individual or to community.
But when we buy a craftsman's work, we facilitate his or her growth to the next level, and invest in the character and intelligence of our communities. Just in case anyone wonders why we have poverty in places like Philadelphia and Baltimore, we need look no further than our failure to understand, appreciate, and foster craftsmanship in each other. Religions lecture morality, but craftsmanship and the culture of craftsmanship actually build it.
Finally, I have a product of my own design that is not so highly crafted. It stands out from the other things I make in that it requires no joinery, no special materials, no particular skill, and can be done quickly with only a small chance of failure. To make matters worse, no sanding is required (except for pulling off splinters) and no finish is necessary. From a stack of firewood, I can make hundreds of them. If they became wildly popular, I could make a mold from one one of the best and have them injection molded from plastic, and thereby reduce the craftsmanship to absolute zip. But sadly, those would not have the smell of real oak.
So what shall I call these? Does chunk box sound romantic enough?
Today is Books in Bloom, the literary festival that my wife and friends started about 10 years ago. Some of your favorite authors will be there to speak and sign books. This morning I'll be setting up tents. During the mid day I'll serve as a photographer for the event. At 3 PM, I'll take Roy Blount, Jr. to the airport.
Make, fix and create...