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.
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.
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. ∆