So, let me introduce this my first series on what it takes to become a master craftsperson. The idea of pure craft is quite alien to most of us, I work in an environment so distant from craft that it is difficult to understand the level of commitment and skill required to become masterful. We are losing the understanding of traditional crafts and our craft heritage - take cabinet making, glass blowing, ceramics, metal work; all craft disciples which require many years of practice to become competent let alone to become masterful. This series will explore many ideas around to concept of becoming masterful, the sacrifices required and explore the exquisite objects from a number of master craftspeople.
I thought I'd start with an inspiring quote from Eugen Herrigal the German philosopher in his book Zen and the art of Archery (ISBN 0-679-72297-1)
"Far from wishing to waken the artist in the pupil prematurely, the teacher considers it his first task to make him a skilled artisan with a sovereign control of his craft. The pupil follows out his intention with untiring industry. As though he had no higher aspirations he bows under his burden with a kind of obtuse devotion, only to discover in the course of years that forms which he perfectly masters no longer oppress but liberate. He grows daily more capable of following any inspiration without technical effort, and also of letting inspiration come to him through meticulous observation. The hand the guides the brush has already caught and executed what floated before the mind at the same moment as the mind began to form it, and in the end the pupil no longer know which of the two - mind or hand - was responsible for the work."
Glorious quote don't you think, I think I have only glimpsed the possibility of this kind of complete mastery once or twice in my life.
More to follow tomorrow - Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2013 brings you great opportunity, health and much happiness