The Story of Lost Arts

I last came here when my son was a very young, wriggly, distracted, bored, little boy, who wanted to run off and explore.  We stood for a while, watching the artisans ply their craft.  There were marvels being produced. 

The following is a stream of consciousness, live tweeted today, over a period of about twenty minutes.  I present it here:

  • They used to make beautiful things here. Then it became a restaurant, with a stunning view. That went bust, when HMRC wound it up for taxes.
  • Now, instead of making beautiful things, there is a new owner and the restaurant is named after the craft skill that is no longer practiced.
  • It’s like when they make a housing estate and name all the streets after the varieties of tree that were cut down to create the estate.
  • Nobody wonders why making beautiful things became non-viable. Nobody wonders if it should have.
  • I wonder about false nostalgia for things nobody cared enough about to preserve and keep going as viable operations.
  • Imagine being a skilled artisan suddenly being offered a job waiting tables, or no job at all. Sorry mate. No call for it anymore.
  • I liked it best when you could watch skilled artisans, plying their craft, creating amazing objects, of stunning beauty, before your eyes.
  • I suppose if you wanted to watch and learn today, you’d have to visit China or somewhere like that.
  • It’s a long way to go to hold your infant son in your arms and say, “watch what that man is making”.
  • If you never witness the making of things you can’t make yourself, you are prone to conclude that things like that come from factories.
  • You may very well imagine that they’re all made by robots; ten a penny. Well nothing is really made that way. People are always involved.
  • While we falsely imagine things are made by machines, we get to treat them like disposable, worthless junk that we can throw away on a whim.
  • Except there are no such machines.
  • We look on artisans with contempt for caring about their craft instead of bowing to the machines that make things so much better than them.
  • So we undervalue the skills of the unwanted craftsmen and neglect to notice that they’ve been replaced by craftsmen working like slaves.
  • Doing the same hard work, far away, paid even less and gaining even less respect for their skills than the craftsmen they replaced.
  • Until the most amazingly beautiful things are made by virtual slaves, working hard & long, for nearly nothing, with no respect paid to them.
  • Then, one day, they just give up because it’s not worth it. Beautiful things are no longer made. Everybody forgets how to make them.
  • This is what they call “progress”: The gradual driving out of beauty and dignity in the name of profit. So that the rich can buy what?
  • So that the rich have the money to buy beautiful things, which are no longer made by anybody. Bravo.
  • And the ovine herd simply tuts and shrugs, as if no lasting damage of any significance has been done to society and culture. But it has.
  • No child can aspire to a life lived making beautiful things. There is no call for it. Except by a tiny minority with too much cash to spend.
  • It’s a level of demand that can’t sustain any artisan. Yet, the people with no money pine for beautiful things, with their pained souls.
  • There’s no beauty to be had, at the prices they can afford. Unless the artisan is oppressed and exploited into undervaluing it.

I remember my infant son saying, at the time, “That was dumb!” on finally being able to leave the hot, noisy, bustling workshop. 

My daughter has never seen these artisans doing what they used to do.  She probably never will.



About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Story of Lost Arts

  1. The present can be so depressing. There used to be a valley of Christmas Bush in Nelson Bay in the 1940s. Somehow it got cut down but there is a Christmas Bush street in the general area. There’s been a lot of tree cutting going on around here lately. I think I’ll just dive back into my novel like a ostrich or is it emu burying it’s head in the sand!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s