Have you heard this one?

A lumberjack, a pencil sharpener, and a pervert walk into a bar…

OK, not really.  Here’s the story:
Carter Gillies is a potter and a really thought-provoking blogger.  He recently shared this great video that pokes fun at the notion of artisanal products.


1. a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.

The video is hilarious.  It trades on the idea that handcrafted or “artisanal” products can sometimes come across as a bit pretentious or maybe even a little silly.  I love it.  It reminds me of a gift I received a few years back, a book called How To Sharpen Pencils by David Rees.  The book came with an artisan-sharpened pencil (in its own protective tube), the attendant shavings (in a labeled baggie), and a certificate of authenticity.  Questionable punctuation on the certificate notwithstanding, it’s good stuff.

How to Sharpen Pencils

Gillies himself has a sobering take on all of this parody.  Essentially, he suggests that making a mockery of handmade goods is a “slippery slope,” that “folks are being trained not to notice the difference” between quality and a joke.  You might call him a party-pooper, but he’s got a point.  He’s also a better writer than I am, so if you’re curious about his argument, check out his original post here.

pervy guy in the window

Fun fact: I decided at the last-minute to include the Rees material in this post.  It was late in the day, so I dropped everything and rushed out to photograph the book in the living room window, hoping to catch the last of the natural light.  I was focused on the book, and took several shots, before I noticed my neighbor walking his dog right in front of the house.  We locked eyes.  I saw him chuckle.  I looked down and realized I was pressed up against the glass, slack-jawed and staring at my phone, in a hoodie and long johns.  I wasn’t really feeling artisanal then – not a lot of quality there.  All this guy learned was that there’s a pervy dude in the house at the end of the street.  I wish I could’ve taken that one back.  ∆

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