May 25, 2009

The Linker

It's a long story and I'm not exactly the person to tell it, but in a former life I was known as the linker. This nickname predated the "information super highway", so maybe it was a sort of prophecy, most likely a rearrangement of the letters of my surname. Here are a couple of recent stories that I read and thought I would share them with you if you haven't read them already.

In this article, Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser, explains, among other thoughts, the emotional connection one builds through the use of favorite pots.

In this article, Mathew B. Crawford, talks about handwork, specifically fixing motorcycles. But I think the writing is thought provoking to the crafts person as well! Here is a quote that resonated with me,

There probably aren’t many jobs that can be reduced to rule-following and still be done well. But in many jobs there is an attempt to do just this, and the perversity of it may go unnoticed by those who design the work process. Mechanics face something like this problem in the factory service manuals that we use. These manuals tell you to be systematic in eliminating variables, presenting an idealized image of diagnostic work. But they never take into account the risks of working on old machines. So you put the manual away and consider the facts before you. You do this because ultimately you are responsible to the motorcycle and its owner, not to some procedure.
And this,

The visceral experience of failure seems to have been edited out of the career trajectories of gifted students. It stands to reason, then, that those who end up making big decisions that affect all of us don’t seem to have much sense of their own fallibility, and of how badly things can go wrong even with the best of intentions (like when I dropped that feeler gauge down into the Ninja). In the boardrooms of Wall Street and the corridors of Pennsylvania Avenue, I don’t think you’ll see a yellow sign that says “Think Safety!” as you do on job sites and in many repair shops, no doubt because those who sit on the swivel chairs tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make. Why not encourage gifted students to learn a trade, if only in the summers, so that their fingers will be crushed once or twice before they go on to run the country?

I hope everyone has a good Memorial Day. I hear my TaskMaster™ beeping. Better go to the st-st-studio and grab holt of some clay! There's no rest for the busy potter, especially the potter /blogger!