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Cræft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True…
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Cræft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts (edição 2019)

por Alexander Langlands (Autor)

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217498,148 (3.86)7
The Old English word "craeft" signified knowledge, skill, wisdom, and resourcefulness. Today, in the wake of industrialization, people are again seeking products made with authenticity -- artisan breads, local honey, craft beers, furniture and other goods made by human hands. Archaeologist and medieval historian Alexander Landlands travels from his home in Wales along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe learning a wide range of traditional manual skills, and searching for the lost meaning of craeft.… (mais)
Membro:Elizabeth.Petruy
Título:Cræft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts
Autores:Alexander Langlands (Autor)
Informação:W. W. Norton & Company (2019), Edition: Illustrated, 352 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Cræft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts por Alexander Langlands

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    The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction por Matthew B. Crawford (melmore)
    melmore: Both works address, among other things, the way in which skilled craft is a specific kind of intelligence, different from, but not less than, what we have traditionally thought of as intellect. Both make the case that this intelligence resides in the interface between the skilled worker and the material world on which he or exerts that skill.… (mais)
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A frustrating book; the kind that makes you want to say “What a deep insight!” on one page and throw it against the wall on the next. The jacket blurb describes Author Alexander Langlands as an archaeologist, medieval historian, and “regular presenter on BBC”; so far so good. But as we learn through the book, he’s also an avocational farmer.

Langlands praises “cræft”, spelled with the Old English “ash”; the process of doing useful things with your hands in the “traditional” manner. Chapters cover making hay, keeping bees, thatching roofs, masking pots, weaving baskets, and so on. And every chapter is full of fascinating details about how it’s done; making hay is more complicated than just cutting down grass with a scythe; thatching roofs is more involved than just throwing plants on top of your house. These are all things a medieval archaeologist should know how to do, just as a Paleolithic archaeologist should know how to knap flint and butcher a cow with the results.

But it’s one thing to know how to do these things so you can interpret what’s found in an archaeological dig, but it’s another to suggest that it’s somehow “better” that way. This starts in the initial chapter, where Langlands moans peevishly about the difficulty getting his “strimmer” (what would be called a “string trimmer” on this side of the Atlantic) to work, what with mixing the oil and “petrol”, decarbonizing the spark plug, replacing the nylon string, and then still be unable to get it to start. Well, guess what; maintaining internal combustion engines is a “cræft” – see Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It gets worse; Langlands advocates farmers return to plowing with horse teams, because it’s more “cræfty”; and their dung will fertilize the fields. I think we need Vaclav Smil to do a little input-output analysis on that one. And last, I observe that my copy of this book was printed on a high speed rotogravure press with oil-based inks on mass-produced paper and machine bound, not hand lettered in a scriptorium on vellum using oak-gall ink and a goose feather quill.

No illustrations other than pseudomedieval line drawings leading off the chapters. No bibliography or notes. Perhaps I’m too harsh; there really are a lot of fascinating things in Cræft. But I just get tired of claims that “the old ways were better”; sure, 80% child mortality, serfdom, and now and then burning a witch for a little excitement. ( )
2 vote setnahkt | Nov 30, 2020 |
Almost everything that you buy these days has come out of a factory, probably based somewhere in the Far East and whilst the quality is generally serviceable, it often isn't. Quality has always come at a price, and more people are rediscovering the advantages of using a well-made basket, or correctly balanced tool. Something that has fascinated Alexander Langlands for years is looking at the way that we used to make and do things. As an experienced experimental archaeologist who has appeared on many BBC programmes alongside Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn running a farm set in different eras, he has learnt the techniques and the ways that they farmed in those days.

His fascination or borderline obsession with crafts of all sorts has led to him considering it in a wider context. He calls this cræft. He considers it more than that just being able to make a useful object with your hands that you can use, it is sometime about technique, using limited resources in an intelligent way. A scythe is a good example. For large amounts of ground to cut, a form of mechanical mower will save you time, but not necessarily money. However, if you only have a small amount of land to cut with a bit of practice you can cut it in around the same time as it would have taken with a strimmer. There are plenty more examples in her, from coracle building, dry stone walls, beekeeping and the alchemy that fire can bring to materials.

A properly made product can last for a decent amount of time, are sustainable in the materials they use and can be readily repaired, unlike most modern things that break too soon, and get slung in the bin as there are no spares. It is an interesting book and Langlands is an entertaining writer. He picks up on the themes in Why Making Things is Good for You by Peter Korn. They are both right about the process of discovering, researching and making an item with our own hands is far more fulfilling that staring at a screen. It does occasionally ventures into hipster territory I think that it suffers from the a romantic view through rose tinted hand crafted spectacles of what was for a lot of people in the past hard and back breaking work. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Alexander Langlands explores the etymology of the world Craeft then seeks to expand upon it through the illustration of classical crafts that are rapidly becoming lost in our fast paced, mechanized, & digitized world. There are chapters dealing with scything wheat, thatching roofs, dry stone wall building, weaving, black smithing, and creation of hedgerows to name a few. All of these represent slow, time consuming, laborious work whose end products lasts through generations and shapes landscapes.

In general, the author mourns the loss of these skills and decries the impermanence and wastefulness of the cheap substitutes which have moved in to take their place. ( )
  tangledthread | Jun 18, 2018 |
Alexander Langlands had my dream job: he was an experimental archaeologist, experimenting with the tools and techniques of history to better understand the way the past worked. He was clearly in this job by temperament as much as anything, because throughout this book he displays a remarkable curiosity about not just the individual components of historic life but the whole system of the thing: the way one skill led into another, one craft creating byproducts that in turn become the core structural elements of another. He calls this kind of systemic, interdependent thinking "craeftiness," a mode of relating to the world that abhors waste the way nature abhors a vacuum, finding a clever, economical use for every scrap, and making every expenditure of energy do at least two jobs.

This isn't your ordinary history book; in fact, I'm hard-pressed to find anything to compare it to. It's deeply personal, each chapter (focusing on a different craft, from haymaking to basket-weaving to wall and barrow building) exploring Langlands' own experience with the skill as well as his archaeological knowledge of its history. It's profoundly location-based, as suits a book about the way pre-industrial people lived. And, crucially, it's not nostalgic or romanticizing of the past: Langlands is well aware of how hard all this work is, having done much of it himself, albeit without life-or-death consequences. What he's explaining is not just these individual skills that have been lost in the wake of cheap petroleum-based energy, but a way of thinking that was lost along with them, one which might become necessary in the near future, as petroleum-based energy becomes not so cheap. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 20, 2017 |
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Langlands, surprisingly unsentimental for someone who made his fame doing historical re-enactments, resists the pull of nostalgia. Yet he makes a persuasive case that the surrender of our lives to machines represents a regression. 'Factory manufacture,' he writes, 'robs us of a special something: contemplation.' He’s not talking about the big questions of human existence, but of the hundreds of small ones that go into something as simple — or as complex — as building a stone wall: 'Which to use? How to work it? Where to strike it?' In the end, this is the case he makes for craeft. At a time where our disconnection from the world around us is not just tragic but downright dangerous, recovering our status as Homo faber, the species that makes things, may be our salvation.
adicionada por melmore | editarNew York Times, Michael Bierut (Jan 8, 2018)
 
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The Old English word "craeft" signified knowledge, skill, wisdom, and resourcefulness. Today, in the wake of industrialization, people are again seeking products made with authenticity -- artisan breads, local honey, craft beers, furniture and other goods made by human hands. Archaeologist and medieval historian Alexander Landlands travels from his home in Wales along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe learning a wide range of traditional manual skills, and searching for the lost meaning of craeft.

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