In many ways David Pye’s "The Nature and Art of Workmanship" and "Making It” by Evgeny Morozov are two sides of the same coin. While they both focus on the art of “making” they come at it from very different perspectives. Pye’s emphasis is on ideas about craftsmanship that relate to early ideas of material culture. There are very high class based assumptions about what true craftsmanship is. According to Pye, while mass production can produce objects of similar material quality as craftsman made objects, this will result in a problematic lack of diversity in materials. Pye goes on to argue that so called “industrial designers” should be more educated in traditional art and aesthetics. Pye was clearly influenced by more elitist elements art. Finally, Pye argues that to be a good and true craftsman one must feel called to the craft and must not decide what to produce based on the market (Pye 151). By making this argument Pye firmly separates himself from the working and middle class conceptions of production. For Pye, one must be above the market.
In “Making It” by Evgeny Morozov Morozov points to the revival in a culture of “makers.” While in many ways this culture is the domain of upper middle class people. Morozov argues that this movement has had a democratizing effect and that this does not necessarily effect the quality. Morozov does get at this idea that there is an appeal to creation and production that “makers” are in many ways rejected ideas of mass production.
The idea of craftsmanship and the ideas put forth in these articles apply to my own object, a D.A.R.E T shirt. My object certainly does not fall into Pye’s idea about craftsmanship, and this is part of the selection process. This shirt was a mass produced object and as such it says things about industrial production in a way that an object that Pye would see as craft would not. My object rejects the priorities regarding art and the process of creating objects that Pye emphasizes. However, “Making it” and the democratization of creating objects portrayed by Morozov feels a bit more relevant. In many ways this recent phenomenon is a rejection of mass production, like the T-shirt I am writing about. The societal interest in “makers” reflects shifts in values regarding mass production and innovation. While it may not emphasize the aesthetic and artistic priorities important to Pye, it does show an interest in unique objects. My object has little to do with craftsmanship, by either definition, which raises interesting questions about its popularity. In a time of emphasis on makers and locally made products, what is the appeal of a mass produced shirt? What cultural constructions does it reinforce? What does someone miss because they are disconnected from the production process of this shirt.