Defining Public Goods: Craftsmanship

March 16, 2012 by  

I’ve always admired the works of a craftsman, and I definitely feel that their skill as an artisan can somehow be reflected in the Compendium. But can craftsmanship really be considered as a public good? I turn to the Heritage Crafts Association, advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts for some answers. There I find an article by Professor Ewan Clayton, who explains all that I am unable to convey in words.

He talks about the importance of heritage crafts and that “craftsmanship have an interesting relationship to time” the embodied wisdom from the craftsman of a time is reflected in the artefact created, the interaction or activity that may involve the artefact, becomes a cultural resource.

He also mentions the focus in safeguarding traditional craftsmanship should not be made to preserve craft objects but to create conditions to encourage artisans to continue their practice and to transmit their skills and knowledge to others.

I also stumbled upon Richard Sennett’s book titled Craftsman, which mentions how medieval workshops provided a communal atmosphere and a social space, that bound people together forming a community of masters and apprentices.

Both Professor Ewan Clayton and Richard Sennett made insightful points about craftsmanship in the past and in our current lifestyles, it was also a sad reminder of craftsmanship that have become so rare and at risk of being lost forever that it made me want to learn more about them.

I wrap up this post with a quote from Professor Ewan Clayton’s article “So this intangible cultural inheritance that crafts carry is not only about our past – it’s about the vision of what it means to be human. It’s about now, and its about our future as well.”

Visual mind map about craftsmanship.

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