The Craftsman’s Journey

If you’ve been reading my recent posts you’ll know I’ve been talking about craftsmanship and the workshop.

Now… a related matter that you may have experienced when you’re learning a new craft:

  • It’s damn hard to find a good teacher.

One reason for this is because information transfer is difficult when the kind of knowledge that needs to be passed on in a craft is informal and generally not written down. 

The internet is changing things to some extent, but this still describes the nuances of learning many trades, arts, crafts and also most traditional practices from non-western cultures.

One of the reasons you can’t easily create this kind of learning online is that you actually need to get physical and “hands-on” to learn.

But let’s get back to finding a good teacher.

When you’re learning a craft or a trade, what you need is someone who is more than a teacher.

  • You need a mentor. 

If you’ve seen Star Wars, you’ll know that both the Jedi and the Sith totally get this next part right:

  • To unlock your potential you need to find a master and apprentice yourself to them.

But the apprentice needs to obey and if you want to learn from a master… well, there is some degree of submission involved.  

In our modern (or post modern) world, though, we often have issues with this kind of talk. It doesn’t come across as politically correct.

But accepting instruction from an expert practitioner in any field is what gives you the chance to learn from and absorb the skills you need. 

This kind of submission is what dignifies the obedience of the apprentice.

And don’t forget:

  • The craftsman’s journey is always more than learning the skills of a craft or trade. 

The master craftsman learns to manage, teach and lead. 

It’s the skills and experience of the master craftsman that earned her this right including the right to command with the expectation that you follow. 

Furthermore, we all know that there are limits on what we can learn on our own.

And there are limits on our own skills we can do nothing about. 

Some food for thought:

  • What do you want to learn – perhaps, need to learn?
  • How can you create a mini-apprenticeship for yourself to do this? 

There’s more about workshops, apprenticeship learning and The Way of the Craftsman in my eBook if you’re curious.

That’s all for now. 

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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