Craftsmanship - Long Version

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1 INTRODUCTION

Sennett’s1 Chapter 1 opens with an image. “Peering through a window into a carpenter’s shop, you see inside an elderly man surrounded by his apprentices and his tools. Order reigns within, parts of chairs are clamped neatly together, the fresh smell of wood shavings fills the room, the carpenter bends over his bench to make a fine incision for marquetry.” Quakers might be more familiar with Walter Rose’s2 portrait of The Village Carpenter.

Craftsman is a term reaching back to our earliest recorded history. Sennett3 has traced its first celebration to Hoer’s Hymn to Hephaestus. The “man” in craftsman refers generically to the human species, Homo sapiens. It is not a reference to the gender of members of the species. The term is gender free and, in our overly politically correct society, I will continue to use it.

Consulting a dictionary4 for quite another purpose I found “priestcraft” listed as an example of craftsmanship – along with workmanship, housecraft, watercraft. This prompted me to ask myself , “Since we are all priests, what is the craft of a Quaker?” I think it has something to do with spirituality, worship and practical living.

Leaving to one side the connotations of crafty deceit, a boat craft and the ‘craft’ of Freemasonary, the essence of a craft is skill in some practical field and might include notions of trade and art. It might also include an implication of expertness, or talent, or high quality.

2 ARTISAN CRAFTSMAN

One of our contemporary ideas of a craftsman is based on the medieval artisan craftsman in Britain. Early forms of craft guild were known in Ptolemaic Egypt (koion) and were spread throughout the Roman empire (collegia).

The earliest of medieval guilds in Europe were "frith" or "peace" guilds - groups bonded together for mutual protection following the breakdown of the kins, which were groups related by blood ties. Merchant guilds - associations of international trades - were powerful in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, but lost their ascendancy with the rise of the craft guilds - associations of master craftsmen, journeymen, apprentices and the various trades connected with a particular craft.5 The craft guilds in turn lost their power as the merchant companies grew in influence and became the companies that we know today.

Before the industrial revolution Artisan craftsmen were the main producers of goods. This practical, trading and sometimes artistic occupation was romanticised by Rousseu, Ruskin and William Morris in the Arts and Crafts movement. The movement reacted against the excesses and exploitation of the Victorian age of machines and industrialisation by dignifying manual labour. It encouraged the leisured classes to take up handicrafts as a hobby. In practice it was an economic failure. The exceptions were Morris and Co (Now Sandersons), Liberty’s and Heal’s. Artisan craftsmen especially cottage and home workers could not compete with machines or imported cheap colonial products. They became the victims of garret-masters and today have all but vanished from our social scene.

Early Quakers were no strangers to crafts, craftsmanship and the craft and livery companies- at least in London. In the Goldsmiths company Quaker members can be identified as being admitted into membership while non-Quaker members were admitted and sworn.6

3 CRAFTSMANSHIP DESCRIPTION

This section is plagarised and adapted to reflect my personal views from Craftsmanship: the Meaning of Life
By Tim Bryce.
Craftsmanship is not a simple idea that one knows intuitively. Most people today have no idea what craftsmanship is, either they have forgotten it or the concept has simply passed them by.7

The craftsman cares about the work he produces; there is a sense of craftsmanship, regardless of the job, because it is a reflection of his personal character and integrity. It is a pleasure to watch him work, as it is to watch anyone who knows what they are doing, be it a waitress, a programmer, a labourer or a clerk. Quality and service are considered paramount. If it is not just right, it is done over again until it is right. Money is not the prime motivating factor, although clearly it has an important role.8

If you really want something done, talk to a craftsman and no one else.

Craftsmanship can be found in any field of endeavour imaginable, be it in the product sector or service industry. Craftsmanship, therefore, is universally applicable to any line of work including furniture restoration, software programming, Quakerism and home-making.

Craftsmanship is not "workmanship", nor is it synonymous with quality, although the three concepts are closely related.9 Let's begin by giving "Craftsmanship" a definition: "The production and delivery of quality goods or services from highly skilled workmen."

Quality relates to the absence of errors or defects in the finished product or service. In other words, finished goods operate according to their specifications (customers get precisely what they ordered). Such products are normally durable and require minimal maintenance.10 Quality also relates to the effectiveness and efficiency of the product or service, how well does it fit its purpose. And thirdly quality refers to the aesthetic, decorative and elegance of the product or service.

Workmanship refers not so much to the quality of the result as to the way in which it is produced. A good workman uses the best most appropriate materials, deploys techniques, tools and methods in an efficient process to produce the result quickly, with least waste of time, energy or material. The good workman is reliable, producing consistently good work under various forms of stress – personal, social, economic, practical and so on.

A craftsman is a good workman who produces good quality products and services.11 The craftsman deploys skill and knowledge and judgement as well as workmanship. The craftsman combines the observation of a artist, with the curiosity of the scientist, the discipline of a monk, the control of a manager, the manipulation of an engineer, the problem solving of a designer, the care of a medical doctor, the insight of the academician, and the risk-taking of the entrepreneur. The craftsman aspires to excellence, recognises the experience of achievement, of meeting challenges. The craftsman is also a person in community.

In the absence of craftsmen, a rigorous methodology or assembly line process is required to produce quality goods using workers without the expertise of craftsmen. Such processes detail "Who" is to perform "What" work, "When", "Where", "Why" and "How" (5W+H), thereby assuring that a quality product or service is produced. Such is the underlying rationale of the ISO 9000 certification as used by many companies today.12 In moral terms do you do what you say you will do. The point is, quality is not the exclusive domain of the craftsman.

Craftsmanship is also a human trait.13 Some might argue a computer or industrial robot can produce quality products and are, therefore, craftsmen. However, we must remember these devices are programmed by human beings in accordance with the rules of the craftsman. As such, they are an extension or tool of the craftsman not themselves the craftsman.

Craftsmanship can be found in either the overall work process or in just a section of it. For example, there are craftsmen who are intimate with all facets of building furniture, such as a table, a chair or desk, and can implement the product from start to finish. However, as products grow in complexity, it becomes difficult to find people suitably qualified to build them from the womb to the tomb. Consider transport alone, such as the complicated ships, cars, and aircraft we now use, with thousands or millions of parts to assemble. Such complexity makes it impossible for a single person to have the expertise to build the whole product. The same is true in the service sector where different types of expertise and capabilities may be required. In other words, craftsmen have a specific scope of work. The scope of work may relate to other types of craftsmen through a chain of work dependencies, e.g., Craftsmen A, B and C concentrate on separate sub-assemblies which are eventually joined into a single product.14 For example a joiner, caver, turner, wood-finisher and upholsterer might come together to produce a dining chair. In the classic eighteenth century period of English furniture it was not economic for one man to produce a single piece of furniture craftsmen were specialised so the products of a say a Chippendale or a William Vile were constructions of the various craftsmen in the workshop business.

Craftsmanship is not a single all-or-nothing thing. There are degrees or levels of craftsmanship. At one level say an apprentice, the craftsman can do what he is told to do, to the required standard. At another level say the journeyman, the craftsman can perform a complete job without supervision. At a third level say expert, the craftsman is able to solve problems and devise new methods, ways of working and so on to adapt to a new situation. At the advanced levels the craftsman might combine practical skill in say cabinet-making with trade and business skills to be a master craftsman.

Talent, a God-given capability to perform and achieve to high standard of craftsmanship is often confused with craftsmanship or thought to be a prerequisite for the exercise of craftsmanship at a high standard. I find it is more helpful to distinguish between the God-given capability for physical or mental crafts (which includes physiological and neurological arrangements) and the achievements gained through the training, exercise and dedication of whatever capability one might possess. Neither physiology nor schooling determine high attainment though the lack of either will preclude it. In the grey area in between these extremes, training, exercise and dedication can in general deploy talent to achieve a creditable result.

4 THE CRAFTSMAN Reviewed

Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman15 continues an argument begun in the 19th century, when writers such as John Ruskin and William Morris extolled the crafts remembered in our surnames (Smith, Cartwright, Thatcher, Mason, Fletcher) while lamenting the mind-numbing and soul-destroying labour of the industrial process which was replacing them. A long line of thinkers, from Hegel and Marx to Sennett’s teacher Hannah Arendt, have sympathised with the argument. But Sennett does not think that craftsmanship has vanished from our world. On the contrary: it has merely migrated to other regions of human enterprise, so that the delicate form of skilled cooperation that once produced a cathedral now produces the Linux software system. Linux, for Sennett, is the work of a community of craftsmen “who embody some of the elements first celebrated in the (Homeric) Hymn to Hephaestus”16

The quotation illustrates the range and boldness of this book. Sennett defines craftsmanship as “an enduring, basic human impulse, the desire to do a job well for its own sake”. His interest in the subject arises from his work as an academic sociologist, but this says only the barest minimum about his expertise. He is at home in historical, philosophical and psychological literature, and has a lively interest in music, architecture and urban planning, all of which have influenced and broadened his conception of craft. He believes that craft is as vital to the healthy functioning of modern societies as it was to the medieval guilds lauded and romanticised by Morris and Ruskin. And he chooses modern examples to illustrate his thesis. He criticises computer-aided design as the enemy of the eye-guided craft of architectural composition, in terms that recall Ruskin’s assault on neoclassicism. He praises Nokia’s way of innovating through free cooperation in terms that might have been applied to the drafting of the Rule of St Benedict. His argument moves with consummate ease from the anecdotal to the theoretical and back again, and whether he is reflecting on the origins of the scalpel, on the technique of jazz piano, on disgruntlement in the National Health Service, on Diderot’s concerns in the Encyclopédie, on Schiller’s theory of play or Raymond Tallis’s theory of the hand, his thoughts are always lively, engaging and pertinent. A lifetime’s learning has gone into the writing of this book, and it is not surprising if its argument eludes any simple summary.17

Craft, as Sennett sees it, belongs to the category of “social capital”: knowledge and skill that are accumulated and passed on through social interaction, and which are easily lost when social customs change. He gives the illuminating example of the Stradivari and Guarneri violin workshops, whose secrets have not survived the death of those who exploited them – not because the secrets were known to the few, hidden from the many, and then carelessly lost, but because, in an important sense, they were not explicitly known. Social capital of this kind is an example of what the scientist and philosopher Michael Polanyi called “tacit knowledge”: knowledge that exists in a social practice, but is not detachable from it, like the knowledge of the human heart that is contained in the practice of good manners. Such knowledge confers authority on the one who possesses it, and, as Sennett illuminatingly argues, craft traditions have been as much under threat from the modern suspicion of authority in all its forms, as from the industrialisation of the productive process. Originality and “doing your own thing” have replaced obedience and perfection as the standards to live up to, and this is everywhere to be observed in the deskilling of modern societies and in the marginalisation of those who truly know their job, and know it as something more interesting than themselves.18

In various places, Sennett points to the importance of religion and ritual in the transfer of tacit knowledge, and he recognises that the great craft cultures of medieval times, in which the legacy of tacit knowledge was kept in place by the self-policing guilds, went with a form of life that we can no longer recuperate. The household of the medieval craftsman was not a place of domestic love, but a place of authority, in which the relation of master and apprentice was more fundamental than that of father and son. Civic pride counted more than domestic contentment, and the crafts themselves were fully incorporated into the religion of the town, taking their place among the rituals and sacraments whereby the community renewed its sense of legitimacy and its devotion to God. Sennett does not linger over what this means for us, who have lost all forms of tacit knowledge that depend upon a shared public faith. And for some unaccountable reason (unaccountable in a man of such broad culture), he does not mention the greatest of all artistic presentations of the phenomenon that he is describing: Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Had he looked to that exemplary source he would, I think, have recognised more clearly that craftsmanship is more than the desire to do a job well for its own sake. It involves the desire to make a gift of the result, a gift to God, and to the community that has sought God’s protection.19

That is the burden of Ruskin’s argument in The Seven Lamps of Architecture, a source that Sennett respectfully discusses. For Ruskin, architecture serves the community only when approached in a spirit of piety and sacrifice. Architecture must set effective boundaries to public space, and it does so by relinquishing the desire to show off, to stand out, to record the artistic flair of some temporary ego. Architecture succeeds in its public task through humility and devotion, of the kind that can be observed in the moulding, firing and laying of a properly proportioned brick, but which is violated at every point by Frank Gehry’s bombastic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Sennett writes beautifully of bricks and their manufacture. But a residual sympathy for modernism leads him to praise Gehry’s costly extravaganza. He is entitled to his taste; but he should be clear that Gehry’s building is not an exercise in craft but an attempt at art, and exemplifies the same kind of “look at me expressing myself” that has led everywhere to the death of those virtues – humility, piety, obedience – without which no tradition of craftsmanship can really survive.20

“Sennett's chief strength is his willingness to criticise the craft mentality, enumerating all the many ways in which life as a craftsman can spoil your day, not to mention your life.” Simon Ings, The Times

5 ELEMENTS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP

There are six basic elements of craftsmanship.

5.1 Domain

Although he might use many different types of material, the work of a craftsman is characterised by one particular material with which he works. The material might be physical, as in the case of handcraft, or mental or intangible.

Typically, a craftsman focuses on a particular material and type of object e.g. cane seating, making wooden cabinets, bodging, tie-dying and so on. However the original notion and the present dictionary definition make it clear that activities focused on non-physical material may also be domains of craftsmanship. I consider software, business management and Quaker spirituality as domains of craftsmanship.

Craftsmanship is always for a purpose and has a function – even when deployed by an artist in a work for art’s sake. Craftsmanship does not exist in a vacuum for its own sake. The craftsman is conscious, aware, purposeful and intelligent.

5.2 Skill

The core notion of craftsmanship is practical skill. The notion of craftsmanship usually involves manipulation of the materials to a high standard of efficiency, effectiveness and aesthetic quality. Skill carries with it knowledge of the tools, materials and tasks that are appropriate to the domain. It also involves practices, disciplines and standards – physical, mental and spiritual. In my observation the best craftsmen have both mental and physical skills and use them both to good effect.

Traditional craftsmen talk a great deal about practice as repetition of a procedure or technique, as expertise developed from long experience of many different situations, as good and bad practice. In traditional hand crafts these practices are undocumented, time honoured and passed on from one craftsman to another, often as ‘war stories’. In more recent crafts one can find engineering and laboratory manuals that contain at least some information on practices. In many engineering and bureaucratic crafts one can find formal local standards thorough to international standards.

The craftsman has tools that make it easy, efficient, and possible to manipulate the objects and materials in his domain. The tools are obvious and physical for the hand craftsman, engineer or scientist. They are less obvious (but no less real) for the diagnostician, the thinker or the artist.

The craftsman understands and respects the process of building/delivering a product or service and is acutely aware of the penalties for cutting corners. Earlier we discussed the need for a methodology that specifies 5W+H. The craftsman is intimate with all details of his scope of work, so much so, he could probably write the methodology himself. [In practice he does.] Further, his intimacy of the work process means he can produce a reliable estimate of time and costs to perform the work.21

Although many of the craftsman's [actions] may be repetitive, it doesn't mean he easily falls into a rut. Instead, he is constantly looking for new tools and techniques to improve the work process. As such, he plays the role of Industrial Engineer who is normally charged with such a task.22

5.3 Knowledge

The craftsman has a body of organised perceptions, information and manipulations, theories and models, conventions, traditions, standards, attitudes and experience.

Sennett follows Polanyi’s influential work on Tacit knowledge also known as personal knowledge. In essence the knowledge of the craftsman is the unconscious knowledge in one’s finger-tips, thought to be unknowable, un-expressible and un-teachable, which can only be learned through observation and imitation.

In a cynical mood I would see this as the self-serving camouflage of the craftsman protecting his area of expertise; the attitude of the intellectual who does not want to engage with a phenomenon; the dismissive one-up-manship of someone who does want to expose himself to criticism on a topic of difficulty or ignorance. In my opinion, this view denigrates the craftsman and may have a lot to do with the decline of craftsmanship in our education, economy and general society.

The view seems to have a simplistic view of craft as well-practiced manual manipulation and a simplistic view of human behaviour reduced to the stimulus-response psychology of Pavlov’s dogs. In neurophysiology, this is the psychology of the limbic system and the cerebellum rather than the psychology of the cerebrum, thought, consciousness and communication..

At a certain primitive level (cerebellum and spinal cord) the movement of muscles in hand-eye coordination and bodily control must be learned by observation, imitation and feedback. This is the way a small child learns to walk and talk. But every parent and teacher knows that a child’s behaviour can be shaped and controlled through encouragement, discouragement and instruction.

It is true, at least in my experience, that highly skilled craftsmen know that they have a skill and know what they can and can’t achieve with it but are often (even usually) unable to describe how they do what they do. Often they invent their own personal language for what they do. Recently as I have worked with my crafts, I have made notes on what I do and how I do it. I have noticed that I tend to develop a language for what I m doing. This seems to be typical of crafts people. Unfortunately each person, each craftsman invents a different language, using different terms for the same thing.

It is one thing to be unaware of and unable to describe actions or instruct others. It is quite another to claim that unconscious knowledge cannot be described, symbolised analysed and discussed. Listen to two craftsmen swapping ‘war stories’! Every teacher and academic researcher will instantly refute the idea – they teach and discuss practical and intellectual skills every day.

All craftsmen, in addition to their practical or handwork skills also possess and use a considerable body of knowledge of their materials, tools, methods, techniques an problems. Often this knowledge is spoken about as a set of rules: in this situation do this; do this in this way; do this before that and so on. Some of these rules are codified and taught as standards of good practice, trade, industry and international standards. In principle as with other bodies of knowledge, it would be possible to codify these rules. However I believe there is more to a craftsman’s knowledge that a set of production rules.

All craftsmen need reliable information. Traditional knowledge tried and tested over generations is one sort of reliable knowledge. Personal experience of many jobs and situations is a highly trusted source of knowledge. Science-based knowledge is another sort of trustworthy knowledge.

Science-based knowledge is often packaged into the craftsman’s tools and into the materials and supplies that he uses.

It is obvious that the crafts of science and technology involve and might depend on understanding and knowledge of science. It is equally obvious but less generally recognised that knowledge derived from science also plays a significant role in practical and traditional crafts. As scientific knowledge extends and develops in fields such as human and animal behaviour, social psychology, sociology and anthropology, science-based knowledge becomes increasingly relevant to the practice of any craft. The important attributes of this knowledge are that it is reliable, objective and relevant to the situation in hand.

The craftsman is an expert in his field of endeavour; so much so that he could easily serve as an instructor in the subject matter. But the craftsman is also smart enough to know that education is not a one time thing, that his world and field evolve as new tools and techniques are introduced. As such, the craftsman is a student of his profession and is constantly looking to improve himself. This is exercised through such things as continued education, routine certification, studying books and trade publications, and industrial groups. The craftsman willingly participates in trade groups, often at his own expense, in order to network with his peers.

While some forms of craftsmanship require the craftsman to have an academic or formal education, others can be transmitted less formally by apprenticeship in some form. The essence of the education is the transfer of knowledge, understanding and insight from the master to the pupil.

Education in its formal sense is a function of society by which transmits knowledge, skills and values to the next generation. The essence of training is the transfer of practical competency in the craftsman’s domain from one to another. Here again some mental and communication skills require the rigor of an academic experience while others need critically supervised physical experience.

Note that the craftsman does not need to be told that he needs periodic training to sharpen his skills. Instead, he takes the personal initiative to stay on top of his game. Further, the craftsman has no problem with a periodic job review; in fact, he welcomes it for it might bring out a weakness in a skill he needs to sharpen.23

5.4 Values

On the one hand crafts are often thought of as traditional, primitive inefficient. On the other craftsmanship is thought to imply high aesthetic achievement. To this I would add professional and moral ethics, quality of performance (as well as achievement) and continual pursuit of excellence. It is useful to include values of effectiveness and efficiency in both achievement and in performance.

Craftsmen have values expressed in the nature and quality of the work they do and in the way that they do it. Recently, there have also been concerns about the nature of the materials they use in relation to a sustainable ecology and to endangered species.

Profession used to be distinguishable from trade by a code of ethics, of which the Hippocratic oath was the original model. Today we tend to require traders to adhere to ethical as well as legal codes of conduct. As the popularity of TV programmes like Watchdog and Rogue Traders show. Ethical codes today include not only the moral imperatives of honesty and integrity but considerations of ethical sustainability and fairness in trading and sometimes preservation of cultural heritage. Codes of conduct, what we now call ethics have been part of practical crafts since the middle ages when the craft guilds provided much of the standards and support services that we now expect of the state (government and the law)

5.5 People

Craft work is always a social activity although it appears that the worker is solitary and focused on the work in hand. Most obviously learning a craft from one or more masters is a social activity – the two must be physically present together and interacting in some way for the knowledge transfer tot take place. A great deal can be transmitted through words and pictures but at some point even mathematicians prefer face-to-face interactions.

In a multi-person shop (engineering works, development team, or whatever) there are clearly social relationships between the people involved. Hopefully they are all craftsmen with a shared interest in the enterprise as well in their own craft.

The craftsman meets and interacts with his customer (notional in the case of family and friends) at least twice: when the commission is accepted and when the result is delivered. The craftsman buys tools and materials from suppliers. In times past these were also face-to-face social encounters. Today there is more and more buying and selling on the internet. Nevertheless these remain social exchanges, though no longer face-to-face. The craftsman even the lone craftsman working from home belongs to a community of similar craftsmen. They meet face-to-face, correspond with each other, inhabit chat rooms, contribute to and subscribe to newsletters and journals (physical and electronic) and so on.

Almost all practical craftsmanship involves trade in goods and services produced, for the materials, tools, time and energy needed to produce them. This has been the case throughout history. Today it is rare to be able to mine one’s own flint or harvest one own rush.

Less tangible and more arcane crafts still require time and energy to acquire and to practice. These must be paid for somehow by someone. In the past great artists and great scholars always had a patron or the endowment of a seat of learning.

In my observation, success as a craftsman depends as much on social skills and contacts as it does on excellence of craft work.

5.6 Experience

The experience of doing good work is the same for all good craftsmen. There is the mystery and wonder of seeing material transformed from before to after and the elation of solving a problem and competing a job. For some there is the added excitement of creating something new. On the other hand there is a constant fear of failing and the challenge of dealing with threats, difficulties requiring patience, fortitude and resilience. There are uncertainties to be embraced and risks to be managed. Judgements need to be made and decisions taken with wisdom, executed with commitment and responsibility taken with maturity.

Craftsmen focus on the task in hand and follow a discipline, sometimes of their own making sometimes handed down by tradition. They engage with the task and they are committed to their craft, accepting the sacrifices that this entails. Focused attention, engagement and discipline are the bedrock of the craftsmans’ characteristic attention to detail.

Craftsmen are endlessly curious in their domain. They inspect and study each new situation, interpret it, visualise the end result, manage the logistics of materials and skills and execute the actions necessary to realise their vision.

Expertness, the wise problem solving and giving of advice is characteristic of the good craftsman and is often the product of wide rather than long experience. “Experience is doing the same thing a thousand times. Expertise is doing a thousand different things.” Expertness alone is not craftsmanship. And many people confuse experience with craftsmanship.

"Dependable", "professional", and "resourceful" are adjectives that aptly describe the craftsman. He is not one who makes excuses but, rather, always finds a way to get the job done. The craftsman is typically your most productive employee.24

Most people fallaciously equate productivity with efficiency, which simply gauges how fast we can perform a given task. Effectiveness, on the other hand, validates the necessity of the task itself. There is nothing more unproductive than to do something efficiently that should not have been done at all. An industrial robot, for example, can efficiently perform such tasks as welding. But if you are welding the wrong thing, then it is counterproductive. … effectiveness defines "Who/What/When/Where/Why", efficiency defines "How." The craftsman is well aware of the difference between the two and knows how to apply both. As such, the craftsman is in tune with his work environment and corporate culture.25

6 EXAMPLES OF CRAFTSMEN

6.1 Introduction

Sometimes in a difficult or complicated situation a comparison of examples or an analogy is helpful. I have been an active Quaker for most of my life. Much of my practical career to date has been working with computer systems. Recently I have become a furniture restorer. I have focused the selection on “mending the world” as the point at which craftsmanship bears on the Quaker.

Craftsmen are not all the same. I find it helpful to think of four craftsman and one non-craftsamn:

• maker who is a craftsman but not a mender,
• DIYer who is a mender but not a craftsman,
• restorer of furniture who is both a mender and a craftsman in a physical domain,
• maintainer of computer software who is a mends intangible things but is not recognised as a craftsman and
• craftsman Quaker who deals with intangibles, is an unrecognised craftsman and is illuminated by the preceding craftsmen.
My characterisations are necessarily caricatures: in reality individual workers fall on continua or in a multi-dimensional space where the caricatures form distinguishable foci. In common terms there is grey area between each group of workers and the others. For example some DIY repairers are almost restorers while others are simple bunglers or “Mr Fixt Its”. Similarly some restorers are close to DIYers while other are closer to conservators and so on. To be trite and cynical, in some sense all comparisons are invidious.

In spite of these caveats, the exercise is worthwhile because the groups are distinct and have different needs and abilities Too often, they are used interchangeably, commonly with out warrant and to our great confusion.

Although not discussed here it is sometimes important to remember that members of one group associate more with other members of the same group and less with members of other groups. It is typically human to value and identify with members of your own group and to look down on and disparage members of another group.

I see myself in the restorer-conservator region. I am interested in how variations among these workers illuminate and define the role of a restorer-conservator. Elsewhere I will consider the consequences of these variations in training, learning, education, management, business and perhaps research.

6.2 Maker

We tend to think of craftsmen as creative designers and makers of objects of artistic or economic value. A maker is someone who makes an object in response to a brief. In the case of an object for his own use the maker provides his own brief, which might be formal or informal. Highly rated makers are original and creative, as well as reliable in performance. Entrepeneurial makers are also traders and business people.

Workers in this group are concerned with objects typically in the class of functional, status and expressive. Objects are typically at the stages in their lifecycle of birth and new. Objects are typically in a state of pristine. The object's owner is typically in one or more of the markets personal or institution. The owner's aim (and hence the worker's) in commissioning work is to create. The purpose of the work and hence the worker is to solve a real-world practical problem: to make life easier, more comfortable, more convenient, to display wealth or status. The time horizon for the work is typically present. The worker's primary focus is on the piece. The values of the owner or worker are typically in order: creative, utility, fashion, status, commercial value, and originality. Usefulness or utility in this context typically means function and appearance. The core process model used by these workers is typically: design, build, finish and use. The condition of the piece or its elements that the worker has to deal with is typically: straight smooth and square. The primary intention of the worker in this group is to create. The primary criterion in selecting materials and substances for use in a treatment is that it is available. A good worker in this group will have a sound working knowledge of product design. A typical worker in this group will have a primary skill in construction. The worker's general attitude towards the work, its methods, judgements and objects is typically realistic, practical and prompt. The owner and worker's risk tolerance in this group is typically entrepreneurial. The degree of academic rigour applied by these workers to their work is typically creative craftsman.

In the arts-science-practical space, these workers typically tend more towards the Artistic. Increasingly especially in technology areas a sound knowledge of the relevant science is a factor in creating a good product efficiently. Workers in this group might subscribe to the slogan: It doesn't exist, make it.

Makers typically work with ‘perfect’ pieces such as flat surfaces and squared angles. They work with new consistent or coherent materials. They have design drawings with shapes and profiles – for original artists and artisans they have drawn them themselves. Makers work with a primary material such as wood, metal, plastic, textile. The maker requires knowledge of the application as well as the materials, tools and methods of working it. Greater attention to detail usually means a better, more robust and longer lasting solution.

Typically makers are formally educated and trained. Design skills and originality are one of the keys to success for a maker. Trading skills in obtaining materials and in marketing are typically required for practical success in making. Ethical considerations enter into the makers business activities, the employment of staff and the procurement of materials.

Management of the commission including timely satisfaction of the brief and economic management of the overall business is critical to success. Expertise is focused on satisfying the brief and in reliable performance.

6.3 DIY enthusiast26

Most of us do not think of doing it yourself (DIY) as the work of a craftsman. The DIYer is someone who does a repair or maintains an object, (house, car, furniture, whatever) himself. Usually he owns or is responsible for the target object or works for a friend. Typically he has at least basic general practical skills and tools. He is not a specialist.

People in this group are concerned with objects typically in the class of functional and utilitarian. Objects are typically at the stages in their lifecycle of, youth and middle, recent. Objects are typically in a state of broken. The object's owner is typically in the market personal.

The owner's aim (and hence the worker's) in commissioning work is to fix it. The purpose of the work and hence the worker is to solve a real-world practical problem: to make life easier, more comfortable, more convenient, to display wealth or status, to return to use. The time horizon for the work is typically present and immediate. The worker's primary focus is on the piece.

The values of the owner or worker are typically utility. Usefulness or utility in this context typically means function. The core process model used by these workers is typically: Inspect, Repair, Use.

The condition of the piece or its elements that the worker has to deal with is typically: broken or severely damaged. The primary intention of the worker in this group is to repair. The primary criterion in selecting materials and substances for use in a treatment is that it is available.

A good worker in this group should have a sound working knowledge of Product diagnosis & repair. A typical worker in this group should have basic practical skills. The worker's general attitude towards the work, its methods, judgements and objects is typically realistic, practical, prompt, gung-ho.

The owner and worker's risk tolerance in this group is typically unaware. The degree of academic rigour applied by these workers to their work is typically uncontrolled. In the arts-science-practical space, these workers typically tend more towards the practical.

Workers in this group might subscribe to the slogan: It’s broke, fix it.

The DIY enthusiast typically uses available pre-packed proprietary solutions. Typically he or she lacks an adequate understanding of the structures or materials they are working with and often use inappropriate or ineffective treatments, fail to clean up or finish off and lack accuracy or precision

6.4 Software maintainer

Computer software is intangible and invisible, but is vital to the functional behaviour of the computer. Software engineers know that all software contains bug or errors. The maintainer’s job is to remove the bugs, update and upgrade the software in use.

A software maintainers are not usually thought of as craftsmen, in part at lest because they do not deal with a physical material. Software is intangible and invisible strongly contrasted with say furniture restoration.

Workers in this group are concerned with the ailments of computer programs and system objects typically in the class of malfunctioning. Objects are typically at these stages in their lifecycle of new and in-service. Objects are typically in a state of faulty and imperfect. The object's owner is typically in the market institution.

The owner's aim (and hence the worker's) in commissioning work is to remove bugs, improve functionality and reliability. The purpose of the work and hence the worker is to solve a real-world practical problem: to make life easier, more comfortable, more convenient, to display wealth or status, safe and reliable but working in the virtual world of computer software.

The time horizon for the work is typically present. The worker's primary focus is on the program and its associated data. The values of the owner or worker are typically in order, utility, good practice and efficiency. Usefulness or utility in this context typically means fit for purpose, conforms to specified standards correctness and precision.

The core process model used by these workers is typically: Test, Diagnose, Treat, Test again and release in to service. The condition of the program and its associated data or its elements that the worker has to deal with is typically faulty. The primary intention of the worker in this group is to restore to service with the bug removed or worked around.

A good worker in this group will have a sound working knowledge of diagnosis, repair and testing: application knowledge, computer knowledge, software knowledge, tacit knowledge of writing programs and finding faults. The tools they use include programming tools of compilers, test suites, diagnostic tools methods and techniques. Thinking tools of flowchart, data design methodologies pencil and paper.

A typical worker in this group will have a primary skill set in maintenance. The worker's general attitude towards the work, its methods, judgements and objects is typically realistic, practical, prompt. The owner and worker's risk tolerance in this group is typically entrepreneurial. The degree of academic rigour applied by these workers to their work is typically craftsman.

In the arts-science-practical space, these workers typically tend more towards the logical and scientific. Increasingly especially in technology areas, a sound knowledge of the relevant science is a factor in creating a good product efficiently.

Workers in this group might subscribe to the slogan: It doesn't work, fix it.

Software maintainers typically work with operational programs. They work with existing documentation – where it does exist. Their primary material is electronic data and the logical instructions of the computer language.

The maker requires knowledge of the application as well as the data, tools and methods of working it. Rigid attention to detail and logical reasoning is essential.

means a better, more robust and longer lasting solution. Training is usually confined to courses in specific languages and IP methods. Diagnosis and maintenance skills are often self-taught, and tacit. Design skills, logical reasoning and originality are one of the keys to success for a maker.

Ethical considerations enter into the software maintainer’s business activities, the employment of staff and the procurement of equipment. Management of the commission including timely satisfaction of the brief and economic management of the overall business is critical to success. Expertise is focused on satisfying the customer and in reliable software performance.

6.5 Furniture restorer

Restoration is a scarcely recognised trade or profession perhaps because it is one of the most demanding and difficult. Not only must the restorer master the dozen or so trades that go to make, say a chair, and match their performance to the quality of the likes of Chippendale, he must be a sculptor of form, an engineer of structure and mechanisms, an artist to match colours and tones, he must be a forensic detective to understand each piece of furniture, a scientist to test and apply theories and principles, a doctor to diagnose and treat the ailments of furniture, a designer of processes and treatment regimes and a manager of a project.

Workers in this group are concerned with objects that are typically functional, status objects, utilitarian, inherited, collected or sentimental objects.

Objects are typically at mature, antique or salvage stages of their lifecycle. Objects are typically worn, broken, aged or outdated. The object's owner is typically in the personal or institution market.

The owner's aim (and hence the worker's) in commissioning work is to repair, maintain, or refurbish and return to use (utility and display). The purpose of the work and hence the worker is to solve a real-world practical problem: return to use or restore object’s value. The time horizon for the work is typically present, but with an eye to future generations.

The worker's primary focus is on the piece or part and its relationship to its normal environment where it has a use and delvers a benefit. The primary intention of the worker in this group is to Repair. Prolong usefulness. The primary criterion in selecting materials and substances for use in a treatment is that it is available but also contemporary with the piece being restored.

Restorers have to deal with parts that are bent, broken, friable, dented scratched, corroded or otherwise degraded. They have to deal with the actual dimensions and angles of parts – rather than with what they should be or were designed to be. An important part of their job is to preserve and sometimes replicate the patina of a surface. Patina is the accumulated effect of material deterioration (due to light, atmospheric moisture and other chemicals) the effects of wear and teat (abrasion, dents, scratches, discolouration marks and so on). It excludes the build up of surface debris such as wax and dust,

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