Harjutamine teeb meistriks ehk käsitöölise muljeid Richard Sennetti raamatust „Taidur“ / Practicing makes the master. A craftsperson’s perspective on Richard Sennett’s “The Craftsman”


  • Kristi Jõeste




In her review, Kristi Jõeste, an Estonian glove-knitting master, reflects on Sennett’s ideas in The Craftsman which have appealed to her the most: the persona of a craftsman, craftsmanship, tacit knowledge, skills and practice, motivation, routine tolerance, dialogue with materials, and the connection between hand and head. While ’craft’ in English is defined as a skillful process of making something, the Estonian definitions of ’käsitöö’ do not mention skills – the intellectual component of making – at all. In Estonian there are four definitions for ’käsitöö’ in dictionaries:

1) small-scale serial production made by hand with simple tools;
2) work made by hand, especially all sorts of crafting and needlework;
3) handmade object for practical or decorative purposes;
4) dull, poor-quality creation, especially in arts and literature.

Thence, the slightly negative semantic background of ’käsitöö’ perhaps justifies bringing an old and rare Finnish-rooted ’taidur’ into a wider use rather than translating the title as ’käsitööline’, hoping that it could bring artists, designers and craftspeople closer to each other.

Sennett argues that genuine craftsmen share the urge to do their work in the finest possible way, and it is a matter of personal satisfaction rather than a need to show off or get reward from others. Becoming a master in crafts requires routine engagement in order to acquire skill; he proposes that ca 10 000 hours of exercise is needed before a certain level of mastery is achieved and where self-reflection can produce novel results.

In summary, the book is a well-argumented mixture of conceptions related to crafts. It offers insights into thinking about crafts and linking the ideas with different practices. In this respect, it is a philosophical writing asking questions about how the craftsman dwells in reality.


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