There is immense value in appreciating the underlying principles of an artisan and their way of life. Identifying and adopting the simple ways of a creative mind can be the catalyst needed to enable a life of purpose and gratification. An artisan lifestyle is authentic and free. It is a lifestyle less susceptible to society’s daily grind and conditioning. It is a lifestyle that allows for individual satisfaction and simple creative contentment.
An artisan (from French: artisan, Italian: artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates inspired artefacts by hand, which may be functional or strictly decorative pieces of workmanship. The Japanese word for an ‘artisan’ or ‘craftsman’ is shokunin. And in the words of shokunin Tashio Odate: ‘Shokunin means not only having technical skill, but it also implies an attitude and social consciousness - a social obligation to work his/ her best for the general welfare of the people, an obligation both material and spiritual.’
When considering the above definitions of an artisan, it is clear that the creativity of the artisan is a process of passion and pride in what is being crafted by hand. The workmanship is the mastery of a valuable skill. It is a labour of love. The craft reflects a story and suggests a strong sense of self-worth; a true belief in oneself. Handcraft signifies a creation that is built with care and consideration. It reflects an awareness of beauty and nature, and how this is interlinked. Time is appreciated and endured in the process of crafting by hand.
In our modern world, speed is wholly important. The value of a beautiful item crafted by hand is of less importance. This emphasis on the ease of acquisition has turned our world into a disposable and somewhat careless society. We have become addicted to quick solutions and cheap purchases, and in the process we have dulled our senses of what true worth is. Quick fixes override a desire for value, and this in turn has detrimental effects on our society. We are losing our ability to openly communicate with empathy or even care for our immediate environment. The need for speed leaves little time to consider raw creativity and the beauty of life around us. We have less time in nature and more time ‘fulfilling’ our lives with the cheap thrills, which increasingly compound the crisis of our natural world.
Change is needed in our world, and we need to undertake the challenge to live a life that is more purposeful. We need to move towards the principles of an artisan lifestyle. We need to live with intention. We need to be present, and cherish life – not simply exist, accepting a mundane daily routine. Life is to live, never be a slave to it. Find your passion, and take time to know yourself and what triggers your daily happy dance! It should be the pursuit of your passions and not a mere pay check. Ask questions and be probing. Don’t be a follower. Take your time. Be a part of the slow movement. Support local food sources. Practise sustainable living. Switch off from the meaningless distractions. Meditate. Be open minded and free to see beauty all around. Don’t be conditioned to conform. Don’t settle for mediocrity that leaves you wanting. Be authentic. Allow yourself to stop and listen to your own wants and needs. Don’t put it off whilst you follow the (dissatisfied) crowd. Do things for yourself – move away from convenience and towards a wholesome lifestyle. Go back to the art of living, truly living. Be authentic and real about life. Handcraft your own niche lifestyle. Join the paradigm shift towards a life of passion, freedom and fulfilment.
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