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Craftsmanship and values


Hi All; The other day I realized it was the 2 year anniversary of
the death of my old friend and teacher, the great metalsmith,
Phillip Fike. When I thought of this, I was aware of a box of
tea near me with a paragraph on it that quoted John Ruskin, the
great art and social critic. Ruskin’s thinking and writing were
pivotal in the formation of the British Crafts Movement and its
subsequent American counterpart. If you are not familiar with
his work, such as his ‘Fors Clavigera’, letters to the working
men and women of England, he so aptly laid his finger on the
defects of the then new industrial society. We have been
discussing Gold and Values, although the discussion has fallen
off a bit. I thought it apt, in honor of my late friend, to
upload the quote, by Ruskin, to the ganoksin FTP archives.

It’s brief, but I hope you all will take a look and enjoy what I
think would be an appropriate mission statement for todays
artist/craftsfolk. I think Ruskin did such a wonderfull job of
emphasizing the distinction between mere wealth and social
welfare, and between mechanical labor and craftsmanship.

David L. Huffman (soap-box and all).


So nice to read David’s praise of Ruskin. The works of Ruskin
should be required reading for all artisans and craftpersons.
I highly recommend Ruskin’s “Stones of Venice.” In this work
Ruskin lauded the Gothic period as the antithises of the
industrial society into which England had fallen. He longed to
revive the kind of society in which the individual workman could
express his artistic impulses, and that the work being produced
reflected a human mind and hand as its creator,----not some
machine. He eschewed machine made products—alll perfect, but
soulless. Well, I’m off my soap box. Just was so elated that
others enjoy Ruskin that I had to put in my 2 cents worth. cheers–Alma in Oregon


Dear Alma Just putting MY 2 cents worth in …If not the mind
just what body part developed the machine that Ruskin decried?
Also the same but soulless machine made products are what make
this forum possible, since any computer is turned out by the
thousands if not millions. This is not to mention the cost of
say a car if each one was hand built by x number of craftspeople
basic transportation that we take for granted would have never
gotten beyond the horse and maybe a buggy if you could afford
one…I am not knocking individual craftsmanship or achievement
that after all is one of the reasons I do this, but both
handmade and machine made have a real and necessary place in the
world and is it not fantastic that because of one we can
induluge the other Ron


Dear Ron: Well put! Thank you from a manufacturer of some of
the most beautiful and highest quality ornamental brass and
sterling stampings in the country. Some tell us we make the best
filigree in the world. When a manufacutred piece can become part
of a composite art form – I always appreciate the magic – a
mix of industry and inspiration. Both gifts from the God of the
universe. Andrea Guyot Guyot Brothers Co., Inc.
Attleboro, MA 02703