I used to think I knew what the word ” artisan ” meant…but I eventually realised that I only knew what the advertisers wanted me to think it meant.

It was applied to all sorts of things – from cheese-making to hand-woven pottery and home-made motor oils. You had this cosy image forced on you – thatched cottages and apple-cheeked old men in leather aprons doing things on wooden benches. It came as a bit of a shock when I discovered that what they were doing was dismembering the corpses of kidnapped tourists. ( A traditional craft in Inca Times. )

This led me to speciulate on how we do not value artisanal methods enough in modern society. Take your average surgeon. They practice their trade on people whose bodies have not changed all that much since the times of Hammurabi and Hippocrates. And the diseases and disfigurements have run pretty much to pattern all that time. Yet we condemn the poor old surgeon if they try to operate in an artisanal folk fashion. Where is our sense of tradition?

Likewise the motor mechanic or computer and IT person. Surely they would be more comforting if they were dressed in peasant costumes and spoke with a Devon accent. And used wooden tools to fix the BMW or Mac. You can have too much techno, you know.

I am going to start an Arts And Crafts movement for the Over-70’s that utilises our traditional skills in a modern world. We are the proud possessors of the knowledge that built the 1950’s and now is the time to tap into that. I’m starting with a coin-operated phone here at home.

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