Monday, November 2, 2009

Dr Richard Sennet explains the Essence of Craft

In our last post we mentioned a really out there concept: that an object could become a craft object of sorts by pairing it with really good writing: the Significant Objects project. We were giving it our back hand because it lacks what qualities we feel most embody craft art, if you will, or just plain American Craftmanship as we've know it.
Now comes a pod cast from American Craft Council. A pod cast no less. About another viewpoint. A viewpoint we find inspiring and hopeful. Please give it a listen.
In Dr. Richard Sennett’s view, "Craftsmanship is misunderstood when it is only connected with manual skill. It is also a mental skill and should be measured by standards. It is highly intelligent."
To find out more about this please go to this lage for Dr. Sennet's podcast.

“A craftsman,” he explained, “is someone dedicated to doing good work for its own sake.” They do not take shortcuts.

One examplehe used was an analogy between open source software development and crafts (you have to stay current to keep an audience's attention it seems). It goes something like this: if all craftwork is about problem solving and problem finding, then the work (as in software development)is constantly evolving. He says: "Just as in the work of a potter, skills and standards are set by the community; quality equals democracy."
Well, yes, Dr. Sennet, and the customer is always right. Some artist's attitude is you can take it or leave it. In this economy the idea the customer will have the last say is very evident.

At the American Craft conference last month in Minnapolis Dr. Sennett made the point tha the real problem today is that modern society no longer values the idea that craft is ever growing and exploratory.
Instead, we have noticed here at Nourot Glass, crafts people are workers hamstrung by the need to compete with global products that are mass produced.

Quality is no longer rewarded, says Dr Sennett. This loss of quality is pervasive and with the proliferation of machines, the work of the artisan craftsman is even more threatened.

The American Craft site ends the article with: "Mr Sennett make a final argument for architects using hand drawing versus computerized drafting software to render their buildings. Dr. Sennett concluded that we must revisit slowness for a different social order."

Bring me a punti Mr. Slowsky.

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