Post-industrial nostalgia for the pre-industrial

Carl Marx once said:

‘The mode of production of material life determines the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.’


At a time in which man is possessed by the objects he owns, each object gained those already owned progressively lose their value.

The passion and dedication required in the process of making things are, day by day, replaced by a thirst of power and gain from which man draws more and more.

Quantity has overshadowed quality, but is also true that quality requires patience and also money.

So, why not to choose a cheaper item that meets the same needs of a more expensive one?

It feels like choosing between the supermarket bread and the bakery one.

Of course, people usually choose the most versatile and cheap products, but there are also moments in which it needs to enjoy and feel the pleasures that life can offer to us, sensations that only processes like craft can originate.

As Justin McGuirk states in his article The Art of Craft: The Rise of the Designer-Maker:

‘Design is a piece of innovation, which thruogh the old craft, develops itself to achieve new goals.’

At the same time, design and craft,  are to processes that, if combined together, can create a unique piece of art.

The process of an object, represents and depicts its true value, which goes beyond its economic one.

Craft, even if as not practiced as before, is a process that accompanies people in the understanding of the products that are part of their ordinary lives.

In his 2008 book The Craftsman, the sociologist Richard Sennett examines the homo faber. Sennett’s aim is to prove Immanuel Kant’s dictum that ‘the hand is the window on to the mind’. As he states:

‘It is only through making things, he says – by trying and failing and repeating – that we gain true understanding.’

So, what he is trying to say is not that handmade things are better than machine-made ones. He is simply saying that ‘skilled manual labour – or indeed any craft – is one path to a fulfilling life.’ (McGuirk, 2011)



McGuirk, J. (2011). The art of craft: the rise of the designer-maker. [online] the Guardian. Available at: [Accessed 16 May 2016].


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