Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An interesting read about craftsmanship

I'm back, sort of.

The last few months have been crazy with moving and starting a new job in the southern United States but I hope I can start picking up where I left off.

First up, an interesting read that voxsartoria was kind enough to bring to my attention. I am happy and envious in equal parts that someone was able to express so well something that I have been struggling to convey for years. In short,

Craft means skill; and handcraft for its own sake is as much an enemy of good craftsmanship as bad mass-production. It would be a hard thing if human beings, having taught robots to speak like Shakespeare, could only prove their voices human by learning to stutter.


Spectator Archive


Though it was voxsartoria who brought it to my attention, all credit for unearthing the article must go to RJMan. I stand corrected.


Anonymous said...

I don't believe in the elevation of sterile craft above all else or its use primarily as a marketing tool. "Slow Sewing," a term currently in vogue, irritates me because there is nothing inherently meritorious in slow work: some techniques happen to be more labor-intensive and time-consuming and quality products require them.

Having said that, as a nonprofessional sewer, I'm grateful for example of genuine craftsmanship by people who've trained, rather than projects done by someone who learned something yesterday and decided to put up a tutorial.

What are examples of showy, gratuitous craftsmanship in the context of sewing and tailoring? Handsewn buttonholes on shirts? I confess to having seen some beautiful ones.

Clever title: Craft Ebbing.

Good luck with your new job.

Oldsarge said...

Absolutely spot on. As a woodworker myself, who would quit in a heartbeat if I had to resort to nothing but hand tools, the author has hit the nail on the head. Possibly with a 10mm pin gun carefully fired beneath a shaving raised with a scalpel-sharp gauge which will then be glued down invisibly. Making things rough to make them look handmade is an exercise is abject stupidity. After all, even Purdey's employs the latest in CNC metal shapers to get the actions done right. Then the hand work begins.

neucarol said...

There is a sweet spot between 'make it, wear it' and 'slow sewing'..
Thanx for the link to The Spectator

mossrockss said...

Not to sound hipster, but I've always thought of handwork for the sake of handwork (or any other such iGent-approved signal of ultimate quality) as stupid, especially given the constraints of my budget and the price point I can afford to buy things in. If it's functionally better or better-looking, yes, by all means—if I can afford it. Pickstitched by hand or by machine makes no difference to me—give me the one that looks better. Hand-sewn armhole or machine-sewn makes no difference if the hand-sewn one is more expensive than what I can afford.

Anonymous said...

As a young man learning bespoke tailoring, I'm always baffled by the igents who NEED hand sewn arm holes (even though IMO it doesn't make a difference in comfort, the fullness in the top sleeve and how the back is cut is more important) for example, I can say that attaching the collar by hand makes for a smoother shoulder but, I don't pad the collars by hand. Simply, put the handstitching where it counts and don't where it would make little difference

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