I don’t really make anything. I don’t know how to use a table saw; although, I did take wood working, at one time. I can paint walls and tighten lug nuts but I wouldn’t say I’m a builder. Maybe, what I am trying to say is I’m not a craftsmen.
What I do make is not really tangible. I’ve been working in the IT industry for some time now but I also spend hours reading blogs, playing with beta versions of new tools and tinkering with wordpress. But what I create using these tools is not something you can touch, and admire tactically. When I look at the types of sites I visit, they all seem to share a common theme: someone is creating something tangible that can be touched, smelled, in some cases tasted and it’s something that I very much admire and appreciate.
Recently, I had a pair of boots made at a small cowboy boot shop in San Antonio, called Little Boots. I’m not a horse-riding cowgirl, who lives on a farm, but the occasion was significant because the father of the guy, who made my boots, made my dad’s. So, I got the total experience: my foot traced out, leather/color selected and style chosen. The color/style were reminiscent of the pair my dad had made in the 60′s but it would have been very easy to be seduced by some of the amazing styles they had on display. The workmanship that went into these boots was simply amazing and it gave me a renewed appreciation for things that are made well and made to last.
And this brings me back to the original idea of craftsmanship and what I produce each day. I am probably attaching a romantic notion to a scene of someone bent over leather or wood, working it until its function becomes real. I suspect, at some point, making another bookshelf or pair of children’s shoes may feel like writing yet another blog post or technical document. But for me there is something strangely nostalgic and romantic about building something by hand. Maybe, I’ll try and build a deck this year.
Here are some sites/videos that I think capture the spirit of what I am trying to say :