Craft Today, a sequel to "Craeft" - Book Review.


OK, let's turn the clock to our post-industrial society and ask questions. What is of value and what sort of activities offer fulfillment?

Besides making money, which psychologists tell us engenders happiness up to the point where we have enough, making things, whether objects, books, music, or gardens, offers human satisfaction and fulfillment. As does appreciating those things made by others. If making things is satisfying, becoming a master of a craft is very satisfying. And those rewards can be shared with those who use the product as well. In Japan, the tradition of honoring master craftsmen by designating them as National Treasures points up the contribution that they have made to cultural development.

The OED defines craft by a number of synonyms: knowledge, power, skill, dexterity, and even wisdom and resourcefulness.

Separating the product from the process, defining craftsmanship as a state of being engaged, makes sense on a personal level. What is truly engaging and what can be elevated in our culture is the engagement with the real world of dirt, rock, metal, stick, fiber, water, and fire. 

Here are a couple of my favorite Nakaya fountain pens that illustrate the height of contemporary craft.  They are hand made of hard rubber and painstakingly finished with urushi lacquer derived from the sap of trees. They are made by retired Platinum Pen Company workers who want to continue doing what they know how to do. Not only do I enjoy seeing and feeling their pens, but I have the opportunity to add to them using a nib craft that I have practiced for many years. 

This highly sculptural form was partially inspired by the need for a clipless pen that would not roll off of a desk. This is the Aka-tamenuri multi-layered finish on the Nakaya Dorsal Fin Version 2. 


This Nakaya Decapod Twist is finished in the Kuro-Tamenuri color which is developed using multiple layers of under and over painting.

John Mottishaw


Publish Date: 
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

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June 13, 2018


Thanks, John, for these two interesting blog entries. I have a couple comments. First, you may well be familiar with the late-19th/ early-20th Century "Arts and Crafts Movement." If not, I believe you would be interested in the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris. More specific to the domain of writing, Edward Johnstone was much influenced by Morris. If you are already knowledgeable regarding these writers, I would not be surprised. If you are not, you will find them very enjoyable and rewarding to discover.

My second point is obvious, perhaps, but worth making explicit. There is a satisfaction from completing an object and feeling you did a good job, whether your goal was beauty, material functionality or both. But there is another satisfaction that only appears when the product of your labors is put to good use - not just admired, but really used. This would certainly apply to fountain pens, I expect. It definitely applies to cooking/baking. 

I won't burden you will further elaboration on this theme, just thank you again for sharing your thoughts about craft.

Best regards,


June 27, 2018


I really like and appreciate your article. Great.