Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The importance of crafts

An article by Sir Christopher Frayling in the prestigious RSA Journal ("Tools for Survival") claims that with the rise of the "maker movement" and the recognition of the importance of manufacturing in our economy, the crafts sector is back in the spotlight, only held back by an "outdated vocabulary". The crafts need to be "reclaimed and re-evaluated" – he has in mind the reinvention of guilds and apprenticeships and a new stress on the teaching of practical skills (in schools and colleges, but also to prisoners and young offenders to equip them with the skills they can use to rebuild their lives). Frayling doesn't say this, but I suppose one of the things Steve Jobs achieved with his obsessive emphasis on quality of design and attention to detail at Apple was to begin to blur the line between mass production and craftsmanship. Frayling even talks of the "potential for a second industrial revolution". His most recent book is called On Craftsmanship.

The illustration shows my brother-in-law working as a glassblower.

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