What is a Craftsman?

What is a craftsman? A craftsman is defined as someone who is part of a, “trade, esp. one requiring skilled artistry.” (1) but, to Richard Sennett a craftsman is much more. A craftsman is a person who cares much about their work, no matter what it may be. A craftsman can be a welder, doctor, writer, or a 12th century carpenter. This type of person doesn’t care how long a job takes, he or she just wants it done right.  These people take pride in their work, working not to get the job done, but to make their work into a piece of art.  One thing that separates a craftsman from the rest of the world is dedication, unlike the dedication that Soviets put into their work. During the reign of the Soviet Union, writer Richard Sennett went to the U.S.S.R., while there he went on a tour. As part of the tour he saw many houses, which showed a complete lack of craftsmanship. The workers were lazy, the workers made noticeable imperfections, and they left garbage in the lawn of the home.

            One may say that a craftsman is also an ethical person, and what are the ethics of a true craftsman?  To Richard Sennett a craftsman has pride, yet remains humble. A craftsman wants to do a job not only for recognition, but to have created a piece of artwork, something that he could standby with honor and say, “I created this”. How does this have anything to do with ethics you may wonder, when in fact this has everything to do with ethics. In my opinion it is un-ethical to do un-craftsmanship like work; take the medieval goldsmith for example. He could have not made sure that what he made was not pure gold or pure copper or whatever he said it was, he could have easily passed any of those off as the metal he said they were, and no one would have known the difference, but he wanted to make sure that what he said was true. He wanted the gold to really be gold, he could have made more money by cutting corners like some due, but as a true craftsman the medieval goldsmith did what was right and put in the work to make sure the metal was as pure as he could make it.

            But, why would anyone want to be a craftsman? Craftsman have to do hard work, with-out cutting corners, with the possibility of making less money than those who do. According to Sennett, a craftsman takes pride in their work, and I think we all naturally want to take pride in our work; to do the best and be the best we can be. So, we all aspire to be craftsman, but to truly be one, one must go the extra steps and make a difference.

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