Caherconnell Stone FortI have a deep respect for traditional building techniques, and the offshoots of these that can be loosely termed “natural building techniques”.

Building dry rock walls is one of the techniques that takes patience and a lot of skill, I’ve seen people who’ve “got it” and those who simply don’t. Assuming that something is easy to do because it is made from simple materials is a sure fire way to fail.

Respect the craftsman for what they can create with their hands, and if you want to learn, be prepared to sit at the feet of a master craftsman and understand that there is an art to working with your hands, whether as a carpenter, mason or any of the related trades.

I first wrote about working with your hands back in 2006. These jobs once held a place of honour in society, perhaps that is making a comeback?

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.

2 replies on “Craftsmanship and Simple Materials”

  1. When I have asked children who came into my store, “What are you going to do when you leave school”, often the answer would be, a lawyer, a social worker, a computer programmer, etc.

    When I suggested that maybe an electrician, a plumber, a farmer or market gardener, there often was a look of horror on the child’s face.

    I know that when the ligtht go out or the water pours into one’s home, I know who the most useful person is and that they will always have a job.

    Better an employed craftsman than an unemployed “expert”.

    Mind you, at the moment, I also appreciate the computer experts when I cannot figure out my new laptop computer which I do need for my business.

  2. Trades haven’t gotten the credit they deserve. A 4 year Red Seal Trade means work flexibility, compensation for OT (unlike professionals), and a sense of satisfaction at seeing something physically come to fruition.

    A lot of Gen X and Gen Yer’s are returning to BCIT or SAIT to take a trade, after university has left them with fond memories, but debt.

    Spreadsheets seem to never end, whereas there’s a certain satisfaction with even just cleaning up around the house!

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