Digital Craft

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See also: Fabrication-Based Design in the Age of Digital Production [1]


of craft, and how they may be adapted, by Linda Gratton :

Skilled Repetition

"Craft based work is created through a trained practice that requires the craftsman to go over an action again and again. With each repetition the content changes as the craftsman becomes more skilled- what Sennett describes as a kind of circularity, ‘the virtue of repeated practice’ eventually leading to an embodied knowledge. In these communal actions, tacit knowledge, unspoken and codified words were absorbed.

…with regard to the future of work: where and how will these repetitions take place?

Workshops, Guilds and Communal Rituals

In the Middle Ages craftsmen slept, ate and raised their children in the place in which they worked – places where labour and life mixed face- to- face. These workshops were organized into systems of guilds, which served as the hands-on transmission of the craft, or the ‘knowledge capital’ that was the economic power of the guild – the guilds also served to establish the requirements for selection and promotion.

…with regard to the future of work: how will these guilds develop? , and what will be the mechanisms by which they are held together in a virtual world (see my earlier blog on virtual guilds for some ideas about this)

Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters

Craft development began with an apprenticeship typically lasting for seven years with the costs borne by the young person’s parents. If successful, now a journeyman, the craftsmen would work for another five to ten years before demonstrating mastery.

…with regard to the future of work: what will be the means by which these apprenticeships are served?

Personal Reputation, Trust and Personal Distinction

This was considered the most important obligation of a craftsman and the guilds provided a frame to establish their probity. Their prosperity depended on their making a name for their goods – with an evermore personal sign of distinction. Typically the craftwork changed slowly as a result of the collective effort.

…with regard to the future of work: how does personal reputation, ‘brand me’ become formed?" (


A History of Craft

Next Stages in Automated Craft,, contains an intro on the history of craft and its changing conceptions.

More Information

  1. Virtual Guilds