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Originally posted:  11/13/2015

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Merriam-Webster defines an artisan as:

1:  a worker who practices a trade or handicraft :  craftsperson
2:  one that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods

noodlesArtisanship comes in all shapes and sizes.  Among the different artisanal trades, you’ll find coffee, craftbeers, carpentry, handmade jewelry, furniture, wristwatches, and so much more.

God has made some people excellent at working with their hands.  And we need to honor those skills since He is the one who gave them those specialized talents.

Artisanal products tend to be more costly because of the amount of labor and customization that into it.  But in the end those products tend to be higher-quality and provide a richer experience for the user.

Moreover, I believe doing these very specialized handicrafts is good for your city.

Why, you ask?  Well, I’m glad you posed the question.

Artisanship Often Utilizes Local Resources

A chef will find the freshest and highest quality ingredients through local vendors, and sometimes directly from the farmers themselves.  A lapidarist (one who creates art by cutting and polishing stone) will use local geology and might get his tools from local specialized hardware stores.  A vintner draws from local botany, often from his own vineyard, and bottles and distributes through local means.

From a purely financial standpoint, keeping the cash-flow moving through local vendors helps raise the local economy.

From a principle standpoint, it supports others in your community who might not have a wide, national or international audience, but still provide high-quality products and services.

And maybe it’s obvious, but I should still mention it – doing it locally is much more environmentally sustainable.

Artisanship Breaks the Cycle of Poverty

Sometimes it is the very skill of weaving or jewelry-making or making hand bags that bring someone up out of poverty.  The low overhead gives means for making products, and the labor is provided by the individual.  They simply go out to the market and sell.  For some, it is the only way to bring in an income outside of prostitution or drug-trade.

As we support local artisans, we might very well be helping them keep their lights on, as well as saving them from the sex-trade.  The apostle James said this, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”  In this way, participating in artisanship allows us the ability to take care of the needy.

Artisanship Shapes the Reputation of Your City

wood planeHave you ever read an article online like this one?  It’ll be a list of “best beer cities in America” or something of that sort.

The craft itself becomes a defining factor for why a certain city is worth visiting.

Portland has its artisan coffee.  Boston is known for its beers.  Pizza and Bakeries in Brooklyn.  Chocolate in San Francisco.

Your work can literally change the face of a city.

Artisanship Draws From Heritage

Heritage is one of the most meaningful aspects of the human experience.  We all experience culture, which is influenced by history, language, values.

#Heritage is one of the most meaningful aspects of the human experience. #artisan Click To Tweet

Our crafts today are contemporary forms, but they come from the craftsmen of old.  Blacksmiths, masons, butchers, and clothiers come from a long line of tradition.

As we participate in artisanship, we participate in different legacies of our ancestors.  It’s beautiful and it’s a gift from God.

Artisanship Utilizes Apprenticeships

Similarly, as our crafts come from rich traditions, we want to continue to pass it on to the future generations.

But a college class is not going to do it.  If you know what it takes to become an artist in a trade, then you know reading from a book will never make anybody proficient.  You know it takes an apprenticeship, with daily hands-on experience and guidance, to truly learn the skill.

This is good for a few different reasons.  First, it provides a reliable source of income while learning a skill.  Due to the high-commitment nature of an apprenticeship, it is less likely that the apprentice will impulsively leave because he found something better across town.

Plus, it is the model we saw the Apostle Paul use to teach Timothy.  If God’s men do it, we should at least consider it.

Artisanship Gives Your Creativity Room to Flourish

If you have passion for creating the most beautiful product you can, then you are using the gifts and strengths God has given you.  Thankfully, in an artisanal culture like ours, those talents are valued.

Not only can you make beautiful products, but you can innovate and try new methods and bring life and change to your craft.

Bring life and change to your #craft. #artisan Click To Tweet

pizzaFor example, coldpress has become a revolution in the coffee world, but it took one innovator to try something new before it could take off.

Another example – according to this article, the butcher-buyer relationship has changed dramatically in the past decade, including a more personal interaction.  Giving brining or smoking advice, catering, and using every part of the animal.

The universe of fashion is a very testament to this – a person’s creativity is only limited by his or her imagination – and we would never have gotten jeggings, if it wasn’t for that single culture-shifter.

And thank God for jeggings.

Influence Your City

So as an artisan, make it your goal to improve the city through your craft.

As a user, make it your goal to support artisanship.

God has brought this craft-culture to the forefront of American society, and we should utilize it to good to our communities.

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