The master craftsman puts a critical eye to his work - a hand-bound book - and isn't satisfied. Once again, he takes up his bevel, and scrapes away another micrometer of paper. He blows the dust away, sets the book down on his workbench, and looks at it again... It's good enough, he thinks. He places the new book on a shelf next to other masterpieces of ornate and intricate books.
Ok, so I chose books for the image above, but it could have been anything from a shiny metal part of a car's engine, or a cog wheel from an antique pocket watch, or a simple rough-cut wooden table. My point is the craftsman. What ever happend to the reverence of hand-crafted items? Whatever happened to the reverence of the crafters themselves? Craftsmanship has been relegated to garages and hobby time. It's a sad statement that is quite true, especially since the insta-buy-wear-toss mindset has been fully adopted by the masses. Nobody has the patience for handiwork, custom jobs, unique pieces.
I may feel such loss much more strongly because I went through school without ever seeing anything remotely close to the American 'Shop Class'... Here, the 'men' of my city are only 'men' if they make tons of money as private investors for the über-rich. No getting dirt under their fingernails. That's for 'peasants'. Yuck. What an awful attitude.
So it's this withdrawal of the workshop that has elevated the concept of craftsmanship to such a holy art in my mind, as an integral part of what 'real men' are capable of, born to do. It's about the persistent quest for perfection, even though we consciously know that perfection is imperfect. It's about having control over the raw materials we use, about working them into the form we want. It's about a keen attention to detail, and the finest control over our own motions, and being happily absorbed in our process of creation.
Time I got me a den equipped with a workbench and all the tools I could need.
Who's a craftsman here?