Everyone is an artist. We are all unique, creative individuals.

Do you really believe that? Or if you do, do you think that all it takes to become an artist is positive reinforcement and self esteem. Plus your own You Tube channel.

Art cannot be divorced from craft, which is the larger bucket of the two. There can only be a few artists, chosen ones in their respective profession, but there are many more craftspeople. That teacher who put her heart into teaching you calculus? She was a craftswoman. So was the family doctor whose soothing manner made injections feel a lot less painful.

The great temples of human achievement were made by craftsmen and craftswomen, even if only some of them adorn the hallways of Harvard and MOMA. I believe we are moving towards a new age of craftsourcing, of collective inquiry and creation, but before we can enter that age, we need to adopt three principles:

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Photo credit: Karen Blaha [/caption]

  1. Collaboration: Craft is inherently collective, and while we have to honor the contributions of one and all, there is no place in it for the Prima Donna. We are no shorter for standing on the shoulders of giants.

  2. Creation: We have to be creative, not in the “strokes of genius” sense, but in the everyday sense of bringing one’s own perspective to each task and project. It takes everyday creativity to navigate everyday problems and ultimately, craft is about the everyday.

  3. Character: Craftmaking is about making things and in the process making oneself. Character is what we make of ourselves. The quiet satisfaction that comes from collaborating and creating is reflected in the understanding that craftmaking is a way of living.