This is a great quote. So many times woodworkers have trouble distinguishing themselves as either a craftsman, an artist, or both. I’ve met several men and women who make amazing things, and then sound a little put off when someone calls it art. I think the big takeaway is that we sometimes downplay our abilities, and that doesn’t serve anyone.
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A Man Who Uses His Hands
Over the years I have enjoyed many compliments on my woodworking. It’s been a lot of fun making things that make people happy. One thing that does come up often is whether woodworking by itself is a form of art. Having been accused of being an artist on some of my pieces, I am going to share how this quote helps it all make sense.
Almost anyone can carry wood from a truck to someone that makes things in a wood shop. That’s the laborer. The training is minimal, and the expectations are low. If you have ever had a laborer job, then you understand what I mean. You have a couple tasks, they are easy to teach, and you are on your way.
The person who makes something from the wood that was carried into the shop is a craftsman. They need to have a certain skill set in order to transform the pieces of wood into something that can be used or sold. They do not necessarily need to have any creative ability, because they can follow plans and make identical pieces. The skill level, and knowledge of tools is what makes them a craftsman. The training is longer, and the expectations are higher.
The person who created the designs for the craftsman is an artist. They need all the skills from the laborer and the craftsman to create their pieces, but they also need more. They need to have the ability to create from nothing. To see something that someone else did not already see. The artist uses his head, heart, and hands to make something. The artistic and creative side cannot be trained, it has to be developed, and the expectations are as high as they come.
When you create something from nothing, you are an artist. If you stroll out into the shop and make something you need from scratch, without any plan but your own, you are an artist. It may be a little weird sounding, and hard to absorb, but it’s a fact. When you use all your faculties to bring forth something of beauty that others will enjoy, you have created art.
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More From Westfarthing Woodworks
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