Artisans of the future

As this article from 1843 Magazine outlines, the world’s attention these days is focused on technology, yet there is a growing trend for craft and artisan companies that look more like workshops from the pre-industrial world.

In 1843 Magazinea profile of craft brewers caught my eye, for my interest in the future of work as much as my love of craft beer. As the article says: “The world’s attention these days is focused on tech – on how much it has changed our lives and how much more it will do so in the future,” yet there is a trend for “firms that look more like workshops from the pre-industrial world than modern companies.”

This is the craft / artisan sector, where high importance is placed on elements ranging from “the local sourcing of materials, to the espousal of community, to the strong relationships with suppliers and customers, to the appearance of their products.”

This springs from a desire for authentic, quality products, but also from a search for meaning and fulfilment from work. Artisans often cite their escape from the “rat race”, in which “their output is an abstraction – an analysis, perhaps, that leads to a chunk of money sitting in one bank account rather than another – in which it is sometimes hard to take pride. Success is relative – performance is judged by reference to the salaries and achievements of peers – and so is inevitably incomplete, for there is always someone working harder and earning more. Tasks are shaped by colleagues’ and bosses’ decisions. Sometimes this feels like teamwork, sometimes like powerlessness.”

Even though craft is often less well-paid, “the benefits it offers – the satisfaction of controlling one’s own destiny, acquiring a range of skills, creating beautiful and delicious things, forming friendships with suppliers and customers – make up for the reduced incomes and ensure that there is a small, steady migration of professionals into the craft economy.”

Read the full article here.

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