Sunday, February 04, 2018


Cræft is a strange way to spell an old word, but is given extra meaning by a new book of the same name by British author Alexander Langlands.
"Today, it’s far easier and cheaper to find an ugly plastic container that will be filthy in a year, cracked a year after that and interred in a landfill a year after that, presumably for eternity. The same species that made that first basket eventually invented the machine that cranks out the plastic one today. That is progress, and it has brought our fragile world nearly to the brink."
Perhaps we should re-consider. Can we go back and do over? On groundhog's day my wife and I watched the classic movie with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in which the lead character, a weatherman played by Murray is forced to relive his day over and over and over again until he finally gets it right. The film is funny, but serious also. We may be required to do the same thing.

The interesting thing about making things is that we are making ourselves at the very same time. We miss that essential point. Is the making of oneself a thing that should be quickly and thoughtlessly done using the most shallow means available, or shall we take time in our own making? To abandon our traditional roles of making beautiful objects in service to humanity removes us from being recipients of that traditional sense of self in which we are the stewards of each other. Can we learn to care about each other? Can we learn to care out the planet from which we've all come? My fingers are crossed.
"As for the hands, without which all action would be crippled and enfeebled, it is scarcely possible to describe the variety of their motions, since they are almost as expressive as words. For other portions of the body may help the speaker, whereas the hands may almost be said to speak.

"Do we not use them to demand, promise, summon, dismiss, threaten, supplicate, express aversion or fear, question or deny? Do we not employ them to indicate joy, sorrow, hesitation, confession, penitence, measure, quantity, number and time?

"Have they not power to excite and prohibit, to express approval, wonder or shame? Do they not take the place of adverbs and pronouns when we point at places and things? In fact, though the peoples and nations of the earth speak a multitude of tongues, they share in common the universal language of the hands." – Quintilian
 And how much more they cræft than all that.  Quintilian was a master of oratory, founded a school of oratory and wrote a twelve volume book on rhetoric during the first century A.D.

On another subject, in reading Columbia College Today, the magazine for graduates of Columbia University and their parents, I found an article about a friend, David Heim, graduate of Columbia University '68 and Columbia Journalism '75. David was featured in the magazine for his wood turning and advocacy of woodturning.  He is on the board of the American Association of Woodturners.

I've only met David a couple times, but due to his sincere personal warmth I regard him as a dear friend.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that we each learn likewise.

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