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Imitation des Kunsthandwerks

Imitation of Workmanship

More and more people appreciate handmade products, which has also made the industry aware of this niche. Almost all well-known crockery manufacturers now offer products that look handmade or are even advertised as "handmade". But how do you recognize genuinely handcrafted products?

David Pye addressed this question in his book The Nature and Art of Workmanship. In his view, the term "Workmanship" alone is not meaningful enough. Pye distinguished between the "Workmanship of risk" and the "Workmanship of certainty". While with the former the quality of the result is not predetermined but largely depends on the judgement, care and skill of the craftsman, with the latter all decisions are made prior to manufacture. A machine programmed accordingly and started. The result is consistent, repeatable and certain.

But Pye also believed that a machine is just another tool and it doesn't matter what tool is used for production. The difference lies in whether the manufacturing process depends on the skill of the craftsman or whether the result is already certain. It is therefore impossible to tell from the product alone whether it is the work of a craftsman or not.

Another example is the term "manufactory", which is often misunderstood as a seal of quality for handicraft products. These are usually goods that have been largely machine-made to ensure consistent results. The necessary skill of the "craft of risk" is replaced by the security of the "craft of certainty".

If you want to be sure that a product was actually made by hand, the only way is to go to the producer. However, this is also the great advantage of crafts: craftsmen are approachable, love to talk about their products and often still have handshake quality. As Swiss author Dominik Flammer once said of local food production, "We need to move away from the label and towards the face." So trust the person who made the product rather than a brand or seal.

If you also value craftsmanship, I recommend contacting the manufacturer directly and using their expertise. As a result, you can be sure that you are purchasing a genuine handcrafted product, made with attention to detail and individual skill.
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