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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shining a light on the significance of craft and art

A transparent 'craftbombed' tree in Belfast, May 2013
Never has art and craft been more important to be nurtured and to be nurturing us than today. Respecting and caring for what we have - at home and in public spaces - is connected with how we use our hands and our mind as a result of that.

The global and national rise of 'craftbombing' (see slide show page links) is highlighting the irrepressible need of a human being to be creative in a meaningful way as a service to the community. The fact that there are people who willfully destroy what other folks in their community created with endless love and care points even more to the need for true skillfulness and service (= real "work"!) to be given to those destructive hands, within the context of a community that is in response-able touch with each other.

This necessity of being and staying in response-able touch with each other is something that was very alive, as a matter of life and death, in any mining community. Penicuik and environs has a history of the mining loyalty, and it also has army barracks with a community of service men and women. Also in the army that loyalty and interdependence, and dedicated service is what makes people treasure being part of it and makes people wanting to serve with the best of their skilled strength and power.

Ever since mankind walked this earth 'craft' was part of its survival and pride, - and power.  'Craft' as a principle is applicable to every kind of work and 'making things'. Even the breaking down of things. As often the raw materials have to skillfully get broken down and newly assembled with both a sense of ownership and service.

Where wanton destruction happens in a community, especially when it happens on a regular basis, it a sure tell-tale sign that there is urgent need for hard hands on community building. HANDS ON!
an ode to anonymous

In other languages the word for 'craft' is commonly used  in connection with the word 'hand' and 'strength'. And it also implies 'artfulness' and 'texterity', as in fine and precise flexibility and having a bright intuitive mind.

Lets have a look at what we can learn from the  word itself (words are very crafty!) Smiley

In the English online etymological dictionary it reads:
craft (n.) Look up craft at Dictionary.comOld English cræft, originally "power, physical strength, might," from Proto-Germanic *krab-/*kraf- (cf. Old Frisian kreft, Old High German chraft, German Kraft "strength, skill;" Old Norse kraptr "strength, virtue"). Sense expanded in Old English to include "skill, art, science, talent" (via a notion of "mental power"), which led to the meaning "trade, handicraft, calling." The word still was used for "might, power" in Middle English.
Use for "small boat" is first recorded 1670s, probably from a phrase resembling vessels of small craft and referring either to the trade they did or the seamanship they required, or perhaps it preserves the word in its original sense of "power."
craft (v.) Look up craft at Dictionary.comOld English cræftan "to exercise a craft, build," from the same source as craft (n.). Meaning "to make skilfully" is from early 15c., obsolete from 16c., but revived c.1950s, largely in U.S. advertising and commercial senses. Related: Craftedcrafting.

"Art" is inextricable linked with craft through the notion and mastery of skill 
art (n.) Look up art at Dictionary.comearly 13c., "skill as a result of learning or practice," from Old French art (10c.), from Latin artem (nominative ars) "work of art; practical skill; a business, craft," from PIE *ar-ti-(cf. Sanskrit rtih "manner, mode;" Greek arti "just," artios "complete, suitable," artizein "to prepare;" Latin artus "joint;" Armenian arnam "make;" German art "manner, mode"), from root *ar- "fit together, join" (see arm (n.1)).
In Middle English usually with a sense of "skill in scholarship and learning" (c.1300), especially in the seven sciences, or liberal arts. This sense remains in Bachelor of Arts, etc. Meaning "human workmanship" (as opposed to nature) is from late 14c. Sense of "cunning and trickery" first attested c.1600. Meaning "skill in creative arts" is first recorded 1610s; especially of painting, sculpture, etc., from 1660s. Broader sense of the word remains in artless

In German "art" is called "Kunst" which is from the word root 'koennen' - (I) 'Can' , that is again skill.

The 3rd word I would like us to look at is 'technique' - the root of which goes to
techno- Look up techno- at Dictionary.comword-forming element, from Greek tekhno-, combining form of tekhne "art, skill, craft, method, system," probably from PIE root *tek- "shape, make" (cf. Sanskrit taksan"carpenter," Latin texere "to weave;" see texture).
When doing crafting of any kind we exercise our muscles, our senses, our mind and our instinct, and we acquiring not just specific skills but also transferable skills. We further acquire character, calm, and we can experience deep satisfaction.

Full focus and fun at a MSP parents and children session 2012

 Nothing brings the value and significance of 'craft' more home to us than working with your child, when you experiencing her or his full focus and determination of creating something, making it nice, and sharing it.

Craft-work comes in various guises:

there is 'crafts' as pottering and playing about with various materials, maybe creating something lasting, maybe not. It brings fun and business, often also company of like-minded people.
Then there is 'Crafts' with a capital C, commonly used when referring to Heritage Crafts: pottery, weaving, wood turning, etc, - in short it refers to both product and profession of all more or less highly skilled artisans following a long tradition of making something that is both useful and beautiful, and which lasts, or has very long lasting value. In many countries the integrity and quality of these artisans and their works is protected by Trust Bodies or Guilds.
And then there is the 'craft' - that special skill and special something implied in all arts and manufacturing, that is dexterity and excellence that comes through perseverance, diligence, intelligence, wit, creating connections, inventiveness, being spot on, and so on... 
And of course, 'being crafty' has many meanings, and brings much business as in making profit or being thrifty!

Being Thrifty is certainly something that is being nurtured through 'craft-bombing'. The various Nationwide Craftbomb Squads certainly were, like we here in Penicuik, showered with generous donations of materials, some very precious, to be used for this quirky enterprise.

Therefor, being engaged in a craft bombing event is.......


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