What Does ‘Artisan’ Really Mean?

But I’m Not An Artist

The word Artisan seems to be a misunderstood word. Most people would not consider themselves an artisan because they are not an artist. Although the word ‘artisan’ does have the word ‘art’ in it, it does not mean the person is an artist.  As wikipedia puts it…

An artisan is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates things by hand. Artisans practice a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist.

This means through enough practice and experience your work, whatever it may be, can reach a point of an artistic expression. Isn’t that beautiful to think that no matter what you do, you can be an artist of any field? As mundane as a tailor, a potter, or even a shoe maker can be, they certainly could reach a very artistic level of expression through their work.

During the Middle Ages, the term “artisan” was applied to those who made things or provided services.

Artisans were divided into two distinct groups: those who operated their own businesses and those who did not. Those who owned their businesses were called masters, while the latter were the journeymen and apprentices.

Everyone Is An Artisan

Ripple of Existence chose to use this word because we believe everyone is an artisan. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, artisans were the dominant producers of consumer products. ROE thinks of consumerism as contributing. What are you contributing to: an already well off corporation or an artisan that takes pride in their work? In Japan the word for artisan or craftsman is shokunin which implies a pride in one’s own work.

Shokunin means not only having technical skill, but also implies an attitude and social consciousness… a social obligation to work his best for the general welfare of the people, [an] obligation both material and spiritual.

Wow! That is a ripple of love if I have ever described one. Almost like a Saint. Serving the community as it’s your duty to provide whatever it is that you as an artisan may offer. Shokunin took so much pride in their work that they honored their tools of trade once a year on new year’s by placing them in a special box called a tokonoma. To express gratitude they place two rice cakes and a tangerine on top of the special toolbox. What is it that you take this much pride in?

Our Definition

So, to sum it all up, Ripple of Existence believes:

An Artisan is an individual who through experience and practice specializes in a skill and takes pride in doing so as to serve god, and thus community and self.

And there you have it a very sacred word, to be taken with pride.

You Are An Artisan!

The most important thing that you should take from this, is that you are an artisan. Every one of your actions creates an impact in the sculpture called your life. You are already an artisan of your experience. What is it that drives your passion to create? What do you take pride in doing? Allow your questions to become the diving board of your exploration into the sea of your potential artistic expression. We at ROE look forward to seeing your ripple and helping you plant the seeds of your greatness.



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