About a month ago there was a lot of media attention (articles in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, an interview on The Colbert Show, etc.) about a new book by Mathew Crawford called Shop Class As Soul Craft. I haven’t read the book but what I’ve gleaned of Crawford’s argument appeals to me:  it’s that hand-work (in his case motorcycle repair)  should be recognized as genuinely useful and intellectually challenging work and not “less than” the work happening in office buildings.  Coinciding with economic hard times I imagine it’s a heartening – and even liberating – thesis to many re-evaluating the trajectory of their worklife. Others, like Manhattan based carpet weaver Stanley Bulbach already seem quite comfortable living and working as intellectual craftsmen, and in Bulbach’s case vigorously so. His website features his own handwoven carpets, links to numerous articles he’s written about fiber arts, and extensive reviews of books covering a wide range of art-related topics. Regardless of their individual philosophies, both Crawford and Bulbach embody an idea everyone should be able to get behind, office buildings or not: whatever you do, do it passionately!

Above, a detail of Bulbach’s prayer carpet titled “Sumac Auspices”.