There are two words that are especially dear to our hearts here in the studio. We undoubtedly use them too much. These words are “craft” and “creativity”. And yes while they may be trite and overused, we love them. They conjure up a multitude of meanings and are often linked together as if they are the same thing or inseparable ideas. And while craft and creativity do go hand in hand, they are very distinct notions that deserve their individual due.
RESPECT THE CRAFT… RESPECT THE CREATIVITY.
In the age of Pinterest, craft and creativity are all too often used to mean cute “crafty” DIY projects. Now don’t get me wrong, I have been known to get my Pinterest on, but I do not want to lose the depth, beauty and significance of these ideas to trendy techno shorthand. Craft is not crafty and to be crafty is not the same as having craft. Craft is the skill involved in and required to make something with your hands of quality and value. In so many instances this is the exact opposite of “crafty”. Crafty people can have a high degree of craft, but rarely (if ever) would I say that a craftsperson is crafty.
Craft is the integration of the mind, hand and eye through loads of practice. The development of craft usually necessitates a dedication to long hours of hard fought growth. Arguably, good craft actually involves the body more than it involves the mind; moving the understanding of making from your mind (understanding) to your body (knowing). Intuition is developed here and muscle memory takes over. The development of good craft is a sacred and honorable discipline. The time and effort required to obtain good craft (i.e. be a craftsperson) is often dismissed or devalued as a marketing ruse or tactic. This is very much to the detriment of our society.
This is our definition of craft. This is what we love and are excited to share with whoever is willing to listen. This may even be the whole reason to have this blog.
Now, of course, we have written a lot on creativity on our blog, so much so I get worried that it might be too much. But it too is the thing we love, and its the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning. And like craft, creativity is surrounded by ambiguity and ambivalence. (Creativity vs. Art) Creativity is often thought of a soft maybe even romantic matter; sometimes maybe even a luxury. This is evident in how many people lament that they wish they had the time and means to “be creative”. But the reality is that to be human is to be creative, it is fundamental. Creativity and the desire to be creative cuts across social, economical and professional lines; from commercial contractors to private tutors, from medical professionals to homemakers. To be human is to be creative. Here in the studio we talk about creativity as a process (The Grind of the Creative Process); an integrated mental and physical process by which new ideas are generated by loosely holding and playing with other ideas. John Clease gave a great talk on the creative process that I would recommend everyone listen to. He really brings a concreteness and tangibility to an often nebulous topic. (John Clease on Creativity)
The real magic and beauty lies in the the development of both craft and creativity. Through growing your creativity and craft amazing things become possible. We truly believe that our lives are better; richer, because of our creative pursuits and disciplines of craft. It is through craft and creative development we are at greater rest with our selves. Not that we are complacent, quite the opposite. We are secure and confident enough in our processes to regularly launch ourselves into the unknown. Craft and creativity are analogous to our internal and external lives; bringing the two together develops a wholeness of being, making us more ourselves. So I guess what I am saying is that creativity and craft are life skills; skills worth exploring and investing in. This is the heart of what we do and why we offer training courses. Most of us here at Set in Stone found these truths through working with concrete and have found concrete to be an incredible medium for developing both craft and creativity, but is certainly is not the only way. Please, we encourage you to find your thing to explore, whether it is woodworking, painting, photography, writing, or even concrete. It is hard to imagine life well lived without some form of creative craft.
If you have made it this far perhaps you would consider signing up for our email newsletter in the sidebar to the right. It is brand new and just getting started, but we hope to share more ideas like this on living well creatively. You an also find us in all of these places.
And of course their is always the opportunity to take one of our training courses.