Tag Archives: Yanagi Sōetsu

With their bodies

We craftsmen, who have been called artist, have the whole world to draw upon for incentive beauty. It is difficult enough to keep one’s head in this maelstrom, to live truly and work sanely without that sustaining and steadying power of tradition, which guided all applied art in the past. In my own particular case […]

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The work of craft in the age of mechanical reproduction

The art of the craftsman, to use Herbert Read’s terminology, is intuitive and humanistic (one hand one brain); that of the designer for reduplication, rational, abstract and tectonic, the work of the engineer or the constructor rather than that of the ‘artist’. Each method has its own aesthetic significance. Examples of both can be good […]

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a mortal wound to craftsmanship

Q. What is lacking in the artist-craftsman? A. His products are so few and so expensive. They are more decorative than useful. Even if they are made for use they are expensive and therefore not employed in daily life, thus becoming luxury items. From the very beginning they are made for art collectors, and become […]

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a civilization ‘outside in’

The art forms of a community are the crystallizations of its culture (which may indeed be a different thing from its civilization), and pottery traditions art no exception to the rule. In the T’ang period it is not difficult to recognize the Chinese genius for synthesis, here reinterpreting Greek and Buddhist ideology in terms of […]

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Public and Private Beauty

There is a distinct abuse of bulleted lists in Segal’s book. Nonetheless, many of the concepts buried in these bullets deserve close attention and comparison with other variations on the general ideas.  The “graceful” aspect of Segal’s formulation of graceful simplicity is steeped in aesthetic values which converge and diverge with earlier deployments of the […]

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The Way of Craftsmanship

I have been writing for a long time about crafts, digging into almost virgin soil, and what I say may seem strange to unaccustomed ears, dubious, and difficult to accept because it is contrary to prevalent thought. I have continuously received a flow of doubting enquires from friends and strangers alike, so I decided to […]

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