Hand Tools Archive

Re: Millenials and craftsmanship

3 things:

I'm 58, and all my life the people I ran into weren't interested that much in brown furniture, or they had a ton of antiques. I remember Expo 87 in Vancouver, when the hotel I stayed at, the Pan Pacific, was entirely wallpapered in high quality birdseye veneer. That seemed to be the highwater mark for white woods at that time. People like white rooms, on and off, or want light furniture.

About 15 years ago, I started to notice the whole crafts thing was not being responded to the way it once was. One of the woodworking mags, I think, has an article on this and some coverage of an auction site that was adding city specific crafts pages, and you could "audition" to get your crafts for sale featured on their pages. A bit as some transit services will feature a particular busker in their tunnels or stations. It just seemed to be getting a little tenuous. The 60s saw a lot of interest in craft, but it turns out generational interests are specific and die off with their adherents.

That said, certainly all my life, it isn't as though it was ever everyone who purchased serious furniture, or liked hand made goods. You had to sell it, and make the market. Any time a craft does get a little hot, the supply of product soon inundates the market.


I have said here a few times, not as if I expect others to feel the same, that I pretty much just make what I want, and don't make stuff for others. And I mean me, not my wife or daughters, me. The whole thing is so infra dig, nobody is likely to get it, and people are so accustomed to disposables, there isn't much hope they will keep stuff you slaved over. Or if they do, it will only be for sentimental reasons. I don't show stuff much around the boards, because the stuff I make is hard to explain, which for me is pretty much as it ought to be. If it gets broad appreciation, then it is probably banal. Though there are certainly people who fire on all cylinders.

Fine woodworking has strong trends in the original and organic, while at the same time there being a feeling that if it is really good, it should somehow be universal, stylish, studio. That is like comparing a hand knit cable sweater to a Madonna T-Shirt. And if you are innovative, you may find a way to take that hand knit a step or so into the future, and nobody might get that other than you.

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