Craftsmanship is often confused with workmanship. While later is about one’s technical skills, the former requires a combination of workmanship and a deep understanding of utility and aesthetics. Though workmanship is important, it can’t do any good on its own. It’s a painting or a work of art that no one ever saw or understood but the workman himself.
So when or how a workman becomes a craftsman? The simplest answer can be, by possessing a comprehensive understanding of his craft. Unless you don’t know your craft theoretically, you won’t be able to translate for whom it is for. This translation is important because not only it gives the craft an all too important visibility but it also moves the workman forward.
The art of craftsmanship is not stitching a shoe or an apparel — although that’s important. It’s about caring who is gonna wear it. And in fixing those small details that will make a product an experience. And like any other art form this has to come from inside.
A craftsman or the artist is always self policing. He is the biggest critique of his own work. He takes feedback and goes on to make his work even better. He knows first hand that his work is not about him. Rather it’s about and for someone else, the customer. Someone he might not know or have met in person but someone with whom he has an intimate relationship with.
His craft is what’s connecting them.
The art of craftsmanship is not stitching a shoe or an apparel — although that’s important. It’s about caring who is gonna wear it.
Another misconception about craftsmanship is about the use of technology. Like if it’s not created by hand then it’s not craftsmanship. Craftsmanship is not doing everything by hand. It’s about doing what’s best regardless of how it is done. It’s about making sure that craft is aesthetically beautiful, performs what it was designed for and every detail that went into making it was carefully attended.
A craftsman will use his hands where technology seems to strip away the personal attention. And he will use technology where hands can’t be precise enough.
Thus the job of a modern craftsman is neither to avoid technology nor to make a tradition obsolete. It’s somewhat a balance between the two. He understands the history yet breathes in the present. He moves like a true journeyman. He creates and innovates in a way that is not demeaning to the centuries old traditions.
He connects the past to the future. He acts like a leader rather than a partaker.