Art and Craftsmanship

You don’t have to work with your hands to be a craftsman. The work all of us do can be a type of art.

I have a good friend who made his own dining room set. It’s a beautiful table with chairs and benches. It’s the kind of thing their family will be able to use for a long time and will always have a lot of sentimental and practical value.

My brother is an auto mechanic. Once when he was visiting I asked for help fixing a burned out headlight bulb. We spent a very interesting hour talking and taking apart the wheel well of my car. Time after time he calmly reached into his tool bag and brought out a tool that seemed perfect for what we needed. He took care to line the beam of the new bulb up with the beam of the old one. It was really impressive.

A friend at work is very handy. He bought a small starter house, and when he moved to a bigger house he rented out the starter house. Once in a while he’ll mention something about replacing a water heater or rewiring part of one of the houses.

I’m jealous of them. Their craftsmanship is in work they do with their hands.

I love watching the piano player at the jazz academy my kids attend. You can hear his love for the music he’s playing. He teaches the students how to move through a song, the things to listen for, and encourages them to try new things. When he plays you can feel the joy that he feels.

My boys started tuning pianos. This began as my younger son’s Eagle Scout project, and has since turned into a part time job for them. Tuning a piano takes time and patience. Each note on the piano has multiple strings that need to be both in tune with the pitch and with each other. Getting one note to sound correctly can take a while. Then you have 87 more notes to go!

It’s a grueling process to tune a whole piano. Getting the notes to sound in tune often takes a gentle hand. By the end of their last job I saw the beginnings of real pride in the work they were doing. I could see the change from “I’m getting paid to do this” to “I’m proud of my work.”

No matter what kind of work we do, we have the chance to develop craftsmanship. There’s art in everything done well.


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