By Beth Manning A little over six months ago I began pursuing the art of silversmithing and as a result, now spend most Monday nights se...

The Importance Of Craftsmanship In A Digital Age

By Beth Manning

A little over six months ago I began pursuing the art of silversmithing and as a result, now spend most Monday nights setting precious metals on fire. It’s been a fascinating test of both patience and dedication to detail, but thankfully my affinity with shiny things and regard for the hand-made has meant that the process is anything but laborious. In a turn of events that wasn’t entirely unexpected, with each new practical skill comes creative learnings that stretch far beyond the studio. One such learning occurred earlier this week actually, when tasked with the challenge of attaching a very small opal to an even smaller piece of silver. But there’s more to be said about that.

Said process, as I was soon to find out, is a long one – riddled with techniques tried and tested by thousands of makers before me. So I set to work, sawing and soldering with utmost enthusiasm only to reach the point where I had to hammer a piece of 0.5mm silver until it was 0.3mm thick. I figured working with such tiny numbers would be a breeze, but 45 minutes and a vaguely bruised hand later, I’d learnt otherwise. As it turns out, spending the best part of an hour thinning a piece of metal by 0.2 millimetres (unsuccessfully, I should add) makes you think, mostly about how different my perspective on creating is when staring at a screen. It’s interesting, because in our current landscape it’s almost unheard of to go to the lengths of a craftsman for anything that exists in a purely digital sense.

In the technological age we call our own things move quickly, putting the fundamental principles of good craft at risk. That’s not to say I’m suggesting one should spend hours writing a single tweet or weeks finessing a two minute video, but imagine what would happen if the dedication to detail that makers have could be channeled into day-to-day digital pursuits.

Craftsmanship is more than just creating at a meticulous level. Obviously that’s important, but truly great craftsmanship goes beyond what is being made and carefully considers who it’s being made it for. It’s about doing what’s best, regardless of how it needs to be done. It’s a deliberate kind of artistry that leads to truly unique results.

Creating great things has not (and never should be) fast, easy or obvious – as evidenced by these ancient acts of making. It would however seem from what they know that with patience, passion, and a flair for creativity; creating greatness is absolutely possible. So tomorrow morning I’ll spend an extra moment deliberating the details of the brief that lands on my desk. I’ll look at the next sentence I write through a particularly considered lens. And, despite the desires of my bruised little hands, next Monday night I’ll keep hammering until the job is well done. Because that’s what craftsmanship is. A fervent pursuit of perfection, no matter the size or type of the task at hand.

You may also like

Powered by Blogger.