Craftsmanship & Manual Labor

Featured Resource

Harrison Higgs makes furniture. Yet his manual labor is also his art. This Is Our City recently featured his work. A stunning video on craftsmanship as a sacrament.

Furniture Fit for the Kingdom from This Is Our City on Vimeo.

Suggested Resources

  •  “Shop Class as Soul Craft,” by Michael B. Crawford. This article in the New Atlantis set off a small movement. Eventually expanded into a book, Crawford re-examines “manual competence, and the stance it entails toward the built, material world.” He explains the history of the assembly line, explores the intelligence needed for manual labor, and laments the degradation of blue collar work. A must read for plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and all those who work with their hands.
  • The Craftsman, by Richard Sennett. A complete history of craftsmanship, from medieval guilds to present, and a call to recover the ethic of the craftsman: doing a thing well for its own sake. Though littered with typos, the book is still a helpful guide to doing good work.
  • Working Knowledge: Skill and Community in a Small Shop, by Douglas Harper. An interesting ethnography of a small machinist shop in upstate New York.
  • The Story of Craft, by Edward Lucie-Smith. Though not faith based, an interesting look at the role of the craftsman in history and society.