Read an interesting book recently called Craeft: An Inquiry into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands. He describes a number of areas of traditional craft from the simplest such as the uses of sticks to the complex, including sheep herding and beer making. His main observation is that traditionally human ingenuity worked within an ecological framework, responding to and being influenced by natural cycles and the co-existence of plant and animal life. In today’s much more technologically complex environment, the experience of craeft is harder to come by. But I think that we can still see traces of it in all kinds of manual labor, cleaning included. When I clean out an old radiator, I have to use ingenuity to adapt my tools to the project at hand. A coat hanger, bent in the right way, does the trick. This is using a material not from nature directly but nonetheless from the environment that I find at hand. It is, I would say, a modified form of craeft.
Part Two next week.