“We shall hardly relinquish the shovel, which after all has many good points, but we are in need of gentler and more objective criteria for its successful use.”-Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

The Deep Craft Manifesto is a work in progress, and will evolve as I am able to distill my experimental research into working principles. My hope is that these principles will help to define criteria for assessing handmade products and practices, through ‘open source’ dialog and demonstration. I will be drawing upon my own experience as case study, and will feature select projects that model craft as an ecological design strategy.

1. Market = Material Provenance

2. Maintenance = Improvement

3. The functional lifespan of a constructed thing should mimic the lifecycle of its principle material.

4. Entropy adds value: The functionality of a thing by definition incorporates/embodies its decomposition.

5. Handwork may be the bedrock of innovation, but nostalgia for handwork is quicksand.

6. Prepare for unintended consequences.

7. Optimize beneficial end use.

8. All vessels originate with an imagined voyage.

9. Perfection is impossible to maintain.

10. The tool shapes us as much as we shape the tool.

11. Craft practices and products simultaneously preserve knowledge and resources.

12. Prepare the work while it prepares you.

13. Deep Craft is a system of arranging things and relationships in such a way as to improve their value as well as the conditions that sustain the value.

14. What Makes A Good Day?

15. When something is no longer useful, its shape can retain symbolic significance.

16. Every feature of a design should serve  at least three functions.

17. Begin by meditating on the system of joinery (both metaphorically and practically), and how to optimize the interplay of strength, economy and durability.

18. Taken to the extreme, making anything begins with tools making tools, with the added requirement of self-replicability.

19. Art reduces the boundaries between work and thought. Traditional craft makes the distinction obsolete; both art and handicraft are most robust when the two are fused.

20. Craftwork begins with the localization of supply and demand; contentment begins with their balance.

21. Things last when they are loved; things are loved when aesthetics drive the functional program from the moment of conception on.

22. Like finds Like

23. Part of what sustains a pattern in architecture is when the constructed thing functions simultaneously as a record of its own making and instruction for its replication.

24. Always start the day with a good, sharp pencil.

25. Structural rigor is most robust when in the service of fun.

26. However ephemeral, a thing will last if its value translates across generations.

27. Any hand wrought thing works best when the aesthetic of its own decay is considered a design requirement.

28. Focus on beginnings.

29. Encourage beneficial loops and a gift economy.

30. Innovation in craft is often the result of hybridizing tools and techniques between disciplines.

31. On a staggeringly lovely day it’s best to close the shop and find a swimming hole.

32. Prepare for when things go right.

33. The practice of craft is a strategy or method for matching one’s inner state to outside conditions.

34. The style of no style is a consequence of Radical Pragmatism

35. When things are designed and made to be sold, ‘authenticity’ is defined as much by the consumer as by the maker.

36. Quality is the result of acting in a way to increase the likelihood of desired outcomes.

37. Kind, Courteous, Friendly, Helpful, Loyal, Trustworthy, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent

38. Limitations can be liberating.

39. Greet the Elders

40. Trust in an ethos of ‘exuberant frugality’.

41. Craft is most rewarding when it continues to engage all of the senses over time.

42. In the hierarchy of skills required to design and make anything, a good notebook is an indispensable adjunct to craft.

43. Making the time for a lovely lunch is a fundamental privilege, motivation and reward for any hard-working artisan.

44. Maintain a Traveler’s Mindset

45. The collaborative, public nature of digital media is very much a contemporary manifestation of a traditional craft ethos and methodology.

46. The means of production and the means of distribution are the same…

47. It’s always wise to extract as much satisfaction from the task at hand as from what the task yields.

48. Think about the shape of the tree when working with its wood.

49. Seek out the unexplored edges.

50. Enjoy every step of the process.

51. Trouvez la joie!

52. Begin at the beginning.

53, Find congruence between the form and its material origin.

54. Every wave has a new idea.

55. Systems Over Routines

56. Stare up at the stars.

57. Scan the horizon

58. Beauty becomes intrinsic to a thing only when its pursuit is incidental to the process.

59. Destination: Boredom

60. Some picnics call for adventure.

61. Innovation requires a muse.

62. Stir thy lethargy!

63. Things will last that have the capacity to change or resist change in sync with or in anticipation of the ideas and values they embody.

64. The idea of the thing can be as powerful as the thing itself.

65. Trim the sails.

66. Simplicity in design is most robust when there is transparency between a thing and the idea behind the thing.

67. On doit nettoyer les champs.

68. By ‘meaningful timelessness’ I mean that any particular thing—a sculpture, building or piece of furniture—is viewed more a vessel for a recognizable and relatable ethos, a belief system emblematic of a sustainable relationship with place (or use), rather than emblematic of an idealized, or in most cases, technology-driven set of rules.

(C)Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 Scott Constable.