A pottery studio in St Civran, France


Welcome to this blog about the quiet rural life in the Berry Province of France where I have tried to open a pottery studio to hobby potters.
Your comments will be appreciated.

26 September 2006

1. Hand Work

Who said that hand work was not as noble as brain work?

Whoever declared that hands have less value than brains?

The most beautiful human achievements until this day have been made with bare hands.

Cathedrals, with bare hands. Pyramids too. Christopher Columbus' caravels were built with bare hands. And so were Captain Cook's vessels. Your wedding cake was made with bare hands. And the breams in the ocean are caught with bare hands. The potter, the mechanic, the surgeon, the hairdresser and the others...

All of them get their hands dirty to create our world, to shape our planet on a daily basis. Naturally, some of these manual tasks are dirty and repetitive. Degrading even. But there are intellectual tasks too that are repetitive and dumb. We slowly get rid of them through the ages by inventing machines. Should we deplore this?

This world of ours being in constant mutation, it may be a good idea to see the positive side of change. Less repetitive tasks means more time for creative work. A word to the wise! Let's turn off our TV sets... ! And let's pass on to our kids the thousand and one thing we know how to make with our hands.

Past the kindergarten years where we get our toddlers to fumble with play dow and stick bits of paper together, there's no longer time in our schools and colleges for 'hand works'. The mere phrase with these two words together makes everyone pull a face. Our school leavers have their heads full and their hands, withered. It isn't very sensible, is it?