Artist, Artisan, and Craftsperson

In my English class last semester, one of the major projects was to write an extended definition essay that focuses on the deeper meanings and implications of the word(s) chosen.  For my definition essay, I decided to research and discuss the differences in the terms: “artist,” “artisan,” and “craftsperson.” To top it all off, we had to write the essay, the edit it and add more to it. During the revision process, my essay was published in the Lost Art Press blog. Here is the link to the entry, my first version, and the comments that followed:

The whole blog is a blast to read and packed full of useful knowledge.

In the essay I refer to interviews I had the people like Roy Underhill, Chris Schwarz, and Peter Ross; as well as references to David Pye and even Plato (the second version becomes quite a trip down the rabbit hole).

You can read the essay here.

 artist artisan craftsperson 2

I would love to hear any feedback you have. I hope you enjoy!

-Matt Pelto


The Work I Do

As a continuation of my little bio, I think it would be apt to explain the kind of work and the kind of craft I do.

At this time, I am a traditional woodworker. I only use hand tools. I have a couple reasons for this choice (I will explain in more detail in a later post):

1) I feel more connected to the work and the wood through the hand tools as compared to power tools. Wood is a dynamic and (once) living material; the hand tools offer the feedback representative of the material being worked. It helps the wood communicate with me and me with the wood.

2) I don’t care for the dust and noise. I’m usually a pretty quiet person, and I get a bunch of noise at work, so i like to be able to come home and work in a quiet and clean (aired) environment.

3) I’m a poor college kid! While a good set of hand tools is expensive, the investment needed to do the kind of work that I want to do would require quite a chunk of change.

4) I also like the challenge, discipline, and reward of working with hand tools. I like to be able to say (not brag) that I was able to create something with my hands and a few basic tools.

These reasons don’t mean I don’t like machine work or don’t respect the people who work with them (I work next to my dad’s full set of power tools). The reasons I work this way are purely for me.

I also like hand tools because I like to make reproduction-esque furniture, and building it with hand tools just feels right. It’s like classical music played on the original instruments.

I have aspirations to, in addition to exploring various forms of woodcraft such as chairmaking, green woodworking, and turnery; pursue blacksmithing as well. But, that will have to wait until I can find some time and space.

I hope you enjoy the blog, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my posts, my work, or the crafts in general!

Thank you for reading!

Matt Pelto