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Thread: The rise of the Artisan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada

    The rise of the Artisan

    What is your view of the source of the increase we see in "artisan" work ?

    Part of me thinks its always been there but not had a means to get the word out, another part of me thinks its a function of the fact that with not that many dollars one can setup shop and turn out some unique product if one has the desire and passion.

    I do think the more we faced with the virtual world at work the more we want to get our hands on something tactile. That is how i feel. Its real when you use your hands to make something regardless of how well you manage to pull it off.

    We should have a thread where we link to as many artisans sites as possible to give them a bit of exposure to others, may serve as inspiration to others yet that are flapping wings in anticipation of going solo.

    I have wondered how much something like Youtube has contributed to getting many going given the removal of the knowledge barrier.

    So check out this guy i came across when looking at info myself for improving a sandblasting cabinet.

    This guy is making Pipes, yeah i know for some smoking is a no no and i am not advocating for it, I do admire the workmanship and artistry this guy has put into the making of them.

    He has a whole channel of videos he has uploaded.

    Check out images of his pipes here

    Some of them he sandblasts the side of the pipe to show off the grain lines.

    Oh and stealth gloat i picked up a small benchtop sandblasting cabinet ( here we seem to call it abrasive cabinet) locally on a sale

    I have in mind to try cutting a pattern on my vinyl cutter and using it as a stick down template to see how it transfers to wood. Should be a fun experiment. Wife wonders if it will ever end. Told her i was nuts when she married me.
    Last edited by Rob Keeble; 12-18-2014 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    Interesting statement he makes about not setting out to be an artisan, he discovered he was an artisan. Certainly our ever-shrinking world thanks to global networking contributes to you and I being exposed to people we would have lived our whole lives being ignorant of 20 years ago. I remember an old TV show call 'Amazing People'. It showed all sorts of otherwise 'normal' folks doing unusual things. Although the target of this show was more in the 'Believe it or Not' category to some degree, the principle is the same. YouTube, blogs and Internet News Shows expose us to many, many times the number of experiences we would otherwise have. The artisans have always been among us; we just see more of them in a shorter time now which I for one, think is great!
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    There is always biased for those of us that ply our trade for money. We have a new Craft Mall here. Looking at many of the items that look cool...the thought is always "I wouldn't pay that for that"! Then what people pay for pens and mills seems like I'm taking one up the backside with a handful of sand. Moral of the story...perhaps most craftsmen are cheap either way...but we can be.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Technology has afforded many to get more exposure and sales. I follow close to 150 similar artisans on my instagram feed. Most of them are one man or woman shops that do it for a hobby, but probably 75 or so of them do it full time. I've watched a few make the transition from hobby to full time over the last few years. Couple of my favorites are...

    Lamont Luther - check out their story...truly inspiring great story!

    Ariele Alakso - Can't believe how much she gets for her spoons and boards. Amazing work and happy for her, she has marketed herself very well.

    Blackcreek M & T - a very talented turner/woodworker with a past in the big city. Moved to the Hudson valley and started over.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    The Blackcreek folks sure are getting (or at least asking) a lot of money for their very simple utility bowls.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    The Blackcreek folks sure are getting (or at least asking) a lot of money for their very simple utility bowls.
    Did you see what they get for their cutting board oil..and cutting boards?!!
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Those are pretty good pipes. Make me want to get one of mine out of storage and smoke it. A lot of people are retiring from unrewarding jobs and reinventing themselves as gardeners, writers, woodworkers, bakers, fly fishermen... the list goes on and on. Only a few could make a living at it, but all of them get some satisfaction they didn't get sitting in offices making rich owners richer.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I think there are a lot of great artisans out there, there are also a lot of great craftsman. I'd probably put myself in the craftsman category as I just don't feel like I come up with a lot of original ideas or ounce of artist in me, but have no problem duplicating another's work. I admire those that have the vision, drive, and courage to step off the gravy train and do their own thing.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    I think there are a lot of great artisans out there, there are also a lot of great craftsman.
    My feelings on this subject are raw and rather prickly.

    As the term is currently in use, an artisan is a craftsman who's putting on airs. Full stop.

    In my mind, it's akin to modern art vs classic art. Classic art, you look at it and anyone will know it's great art. Much of modern art needs to have a story attached to have any meaning. I mean Modern art with a capital M.

    Examples here:

    And read the description here:

    Each of the five works in Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings (1951) consists of a different number of modular panels [snip] that have been painted completely white. In each case, Rauschenberg’s primary aim was to create a painting that looked untouched by human hands, as though it had simply arrived in the world fully formed and absolutely pure.
    Ultimately, the power of the White Paintings lies in the shifts in attention they require from the viewer, asking us to slow down, watch closely over time, and inspect their mute painted surfaces for subtle shifts in color, light, and texture.

    I mean, really??

    An artisan will make a technical error on a piece... miscut a dovetail, be 1/32" on a joint, etc. The TRUE craftsman will remake the part. The artisan will up the price 50% and point to the error as an indication of "handmade authenticity".

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Westphalia, Michigan
    Oh I might disagree. I think an artisan is someone who elevates craftsmanship into an art form. I think the term might have roots in what came out of the guild system of teaching the trades. You can train under a master craftsman for years and when one learns the skills necessary to start your own shop you become a master craftsman yourself. To attain the title of "artisan" might take years of working to perfect your trade. Then there are the folks who create something truly unique and lovely. Or maybe they reach a level of craftsmanship that is clearly above the norm expected. There are innovative folks who pioneer a new furniture style. like Greene and Greene. Now their work is what I might call artisan-ship. I knew a guy who took another guys innovation and constructed pieces of the same style , but with a level of skill and perfection that was clearly superior. I might call him an artisan in another's style. Artisanship is when one elevates skill to a level that is rare and nears perfection. Or has a certain "WOW" factor. I was a diemaker for years. I was a good and skilled craftsman. I knew one or two guys who were artisans. The dies they built were marvels of precision and finesse. They not only worked to near perfection with the first hit, but had a polished "sewing machine" kind of quality to their function.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

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