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the importance of working with our hands  RSS feed

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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This is a short video and very succinct about the importance of 'working with our hands'. The visuals are yarns and knitting but the thoughts apply to all handwork......


here are links to more about Renate Hiller...
http://www.onbeing.org/blog/world-through-hands/3931
http://www.fibercraftstudio.org/about_us
 
Dan Grubbs
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Location: northwest Missouri, USA
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Judith,
I recently wrote an essay about the value of work and how physical labor is increasingly seen as something to avoid and design out of our lives. It's a shame because the satisfaction in physical labor is quite fulfilling and even more so in handiwork. A set of artists who also believe in this in a very powerful way are the craftsmen of John Neeman Tools. Many on this forum are familiar with John Neeman Tools through their three-part video series "Birth of a Tool." But, I love how they describe what they are about. I've lifted the text from their website to share here below. It says a lot about working with our hands.

We are a small crew of skilled craftsmen from Latvia who use our heritage of craftsmanship handed down through many generations to design and create woodworking tools and knives. Our process, our method and mission keep these traditions and crafts alive and well. In this high-tech age, our own traditional craftsmanship is flourishing.

Our company was founded and all the tools designed by Jacob, a carpenter, with a love for traditional woodworking together with his close friend - a local village bladesmith, that has deep knowledge in historical blades and techniques.

We use our hands to produce tools that will live on, telling their story in the hands of the craftsmen after us. Each tool we make is born with energy and personality – a love and care that will be felt daily by each craftsman; a resonance from the heart of the tool.

Towering factories and belching chimneys are not our game. All of our tools are made in our small traditional workshops, using equally traditional methods and techniques. Our focus is on uniqueness and quality, not quantity. We want to help people to remember how to use their hands, to relate their own human energy to their tools – to achieve the true joy of creating something from humble beginnings, as we did.

Our traditions of blacksmithing and woodworking walk step by step together. We are uniting our history, traditions and craftsmanship in one ancient craft - tool making.


 
Charles Tarnard
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Location: PDX Zone 8b 1/6th acre
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I don't know that I'm ever happier than when I'm approaching the end of a project that I designed crafted and built myself. People that avoid those kinds of jobs/ projects are missing out.
 
Dave Burton
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I completely agree with what she said in that video! Not only is there everything she listed, but I think it just feels amazing to be able to say "I made this."
 
Andrea Redenbaugh
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This video just made me realise why I love crafting. I have always been a hands on kind of person. I only wish I had more time for the fiber arts......
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Andrea Redenbaugh wrote:... I only wish I had more time for the fiber arts......

Andrea, my advise: 'make time', curve out the time needed for the arts you really want to do from time spent on activities with less priority.
Myself I 'find time' by listening to podcasts while I am busy with my hand crafts. Sometimes the hand craft asks for extra attention, then I have to 'rewind' the podcast, because I did not listen well, but that is never a problem. Some 'videos' are also OK, because they are only showing someone talking (you only need to listen).

The total process of: imagining what to make in your mind, evolving the way you want to make it, designing, searching for the right materials, maybe even finding out which technique to use ... and then start working with your hands, continuing (for me this part sometimes takes months, or even years, not working continually on this particular project) ... and finally finishing your product and putting it into use (most of my products I make to use myself) ... I find it very rewarding!
 
Mary Jo
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Actually, elders have more knowledge than us because they have experienced more. They were living in a time that was not much depending on the technology so that they have to use their hands for doing any kind of stuff. And they know wonderful techniques too.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Mary Jo wrote:Actually, elders have more knowledge than us because they have experienced more. They were living in a time that was not much depending on the technology so that they have to use their hands for doing any kind of stuff. And they know wonderful techniques too.

The first part is absolutely true: they have experienced more. But when you say 'they were living in a time ... they had to use their hands ...' I ask myself: of what age do you speak? The time when everything was done by hand, that's the time when my grandparents were young, the early 20th century (before WW II)! Those people do not live anymore, or if they do, they are very old ... are they still able to tell us about that time long ago?
 
James Karmel
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I'm split up on the topic of 'designing away labor' and working with our hands'.

I make my living doing artistic/architectural work with my hands (and various tools).  It's extremely rewarding.  Yet I also like to use technology whenever possible to reduce required labor.

I think the goal is more about reducing unwanted labor so you can focus on the work that brings you the most fulfillment and satisfaction personally. 

There are many chores I love getting my hands dirty while doing, and others i'd be glad to never have to do again. 



 
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