“Masters don’t need to say they’re the masters—it’s obvious in the work.”
Maikel Kuijpers studies craftsmanship. This is my kind of thinking and one of the reasons I became so infatuated with material culture when I was a young anthropology student. People who make for themselves, when that is the only option, don’t just create something that is “good enough,” or as a one-off when their livelihood depends on it. Popular culture often equates primitive cultures as simple and easy whereas we know for a fact that our ancestors were highly-skilled crafters with expert knowledge in their given pursuits.
There are many highly skilled occupations, not just those involving hand crafting. Many skills involve organization, thinking, or analysis and little hands-on, but that is something different. What this is about is mind-body connection; learning and understanding deeply.
I know this isn’t just about primitive technology but has a real relevance to the things I’m interested in. If you haven’t already, check out this short documentary (it’s 12 minutes well spent) and let me know what you think. The film features interviews with several of the world’s leading experts on craftsmanship, and you get to look at the workmanship of a tailor, violin maker, ceramicist, winemaker, and even a barber.
Enjoy, and do good things with purpose.