Thursday Salute to Originals: Keeping Craft Alive
Patience in today’s society seems to be dwindling. With more and more things becoming instantaneous, or very close to it – think emails, app downloads, fast food – we’ve been conditioned to expect almost immediate results, and we’re frustrated when things take more time than anticipated. While there are advantages to this quick pace, sometimes the value of time and patience, like that at the heart of of traditional craftsmanship, is disregarded because it doesn’t comply with this “on demand” philosophy. But just because quick is king, does not mean dedication to quality and perfection is entirely lost. There are still many who take pride in their craft and are committed to perpetuating quality and perfection, despite the pressures of our instant culture.
Kobayashi Kenkou, a Japanese carpentry group, specializes in meticulously planning out wood beam and column structures to eliminate the need for nails. The structures then become works of art themselves, centered on quality, thought, and precise planning and construction binding the members together all completely free of mechanical fasteners. Take a peek at the below video for a glipse at just how calculated these wooden jigsaws truly are.
But Kobayashi Kenkou isn’t the only group committed to quality. Another artist who uses time and skill to his advantage is New Zealand’s Barry Cox. Cox crafted a church made entirely of live trees and plants. Meticulously arranged and planted, as the plants grew over the course of 4 years, Cox trimmed, bound, and weaved the saplings to form the walls and ceiling of the church. No doubt a tedious endeavor, but these beautiful results certainly wouldn’t be possible with an instantaneous mindset.
Russian-born artist, Nikolay Polissky, is also dedicated to his time-consuming craft, creating series of handwoven structures that span the vast landscapes of Russia. Made from natural wood, tree limbs, and sticks, Polissky expertly constructs the pieces in a way reminiscent of a bird’s nest. These twig structures have gained such popularity, not only because of their strange and monstrous forms, but also because of their intensely intricate and laborious method of construction.
Though extreme examples of patience, perfection, and craft, these artists prove that the value of craftsmanship is not lost. Although the trades are sometimes deprived the full respect that they deserve for defying our instantaneous culture, these artists and their works prove traditional craft is a vital part of the economy, art scene and construction; they are truly at the core of quality, impactful creations. So for perpetuating these time-consuming, yet proven methods, we give our boldest salute! Next time you walk through a building or park, take the time to appreciate the details – the brickwork on the exterior, the stone tile layout on the floor, the perfectly matched mitered millwork corners. You may just see a world that you have never experienced.
Image Credits: Bare Hands Woodworking; DeMilked (Japanese Carpentry); DeMilked (Barry Cox); Arch Daily