NSL Blog

Celebrating the Craftsman

March 18, 2013

Principle #5 of No Straight Lines is Craftsmanship Here are two examples of craftsmanship.

Why is the idea of craftsmanship significant at this epochal moment in time? Because it is about shaping our future and the ‘engaged’ craftsman brings the full power of humanity to bear upon his work. His hand is guided by his eye, informed by his creative mind; his productivity the act of unique creation. Indeed, the master craftsman is adept in using a philosophical framework, as well as tools and materials, to deliver useful things to the world. But more than that, the craftsman must be open constantly to new ideas; he is essentially always in beta. Therefore, we cannot engage with our uncertain non-linear world with the linear and inflexible orthodoxy of logic alone. The craftsman’s critical eye and creative mind is vital to evaluating new possibilities; he must be open to new ideas, information, tools and materials to make things that enable humanity to flourish. This approach is inherently more creative in that it synthesises all aspects of what make us truly human. But the 21st century craftsman does not only exist in the dusty workshop of a forgotten age; a games designer is a craftsman, a Linux programmer is a craftsman, innovative organisations like Local Motors and Ushahidi, which are discussed in more detail in Chapters 3 and 8, embed craftsmanship into everything they do. These are well designed responses to what real life previously perceived as intractable as the plot line in Catch¯22.

Mike Friton is a freelance shoemaker, weaver, paper sculptor and innovator with over 30 years of experience at Nike. His innovations are responsible for many elements of athletic footwear that people wear today. Each of his crafts informs one another and he is constantly exploring the fringes of his field. Mike’s work is a great example of how non-traditional methods of exploring one’s craft can lead to unique end results.

If you have any questions or inquiries about Mike and his work, he can be reached at mikefriton@yahoo.com.

The Innovator from Cineastas on Vimeo.

Afghan artists are trying to revive the region’s ancient forms of craftsmanship. A project to train a new generation is revitalising a once neglected part of Kabul. And the high quality pieces have been noticed by Qatar’s Museum of Islamic art.



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