Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to. We confront our lost energies in the pathos of the retirement party. How different everything is for the craftsman who transforms a part of the world with his own hands, who can see his work as emanating from his being and can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object — whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug — and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see.
The friend who sent it to us adds: “How many times have I felt that it would be good to actually make things with my hands, rather than spending so much time talking out into the ether in meetings, emails, web posts?”
How about you? Would you rather make things than stare at a computer screen? Or is the grass greener? Anyone out there making things who would rather be looking at their laptop? Let us know in the comments below.