Category Archives: Artisans

QSC – 8 Years old this month – PEI’s centre for Freelancers and Artisans

There are now nearly 800 commercial co-working facilities in the United States, up from a little more than 300 only two years ago, and about 40 in 2008, according to an annual survey by Deskmag, an online magazine that covers the co-working industry.

More than 110,000 people currently work in one of the nearly 2,500 coworking spaces available worldwide. Compared to last year, there are now 83% more coworking spaces that serve a total of 117% more members! Considering only workdays, we see 4.5 new coworking spaces have emerged daily for the past twelve months. During the same time, the number of coworking members increased by 245 people on average each work day. (Deskmag)

As a member of the QSC, you are also part of the Coworking Visa – you have the benefit of access to over 200 sites all over the world. Details here.  Visiting Toronto, London, Paris, Los Angeles? You have a space and a community waiting for you.

What is going on and how might this help you?

Working at an office can be too structured. Working  at home can be too lonely. You may not have a job anyway. If you are under 30, you probably don’t. Same if you are over 55. So you seek to make a living. Co Working gives you the network to help. It gives you the social space to thrive in. 

So are you a student with a summer clear ahead of you and want to get a feel for this kind of work and space? Maybe you have a project? Are you in your 40′s and 50′s and wonder how you will cope when you lose your job? have you retired but are going mad from boredom?

Try out the Commons. Here is the link to the main page. Here is the link to how to become a member

Here is what the global survey by Deskmag found:

The benefits of coworking continue to be realized: 71% of respondents said their creativity had increased since joining, and 62% said their standard of work had improved. Countering the common claim that coworking spaces can be distracting, 68% said they were able to focus better, as compared to 12% who said the opposite. 64% said they could better complete tasks on time. 

Who are the coworkers? 53% are freelancers, while the remainder are entrepreneurs, small company employees, big company employees, and 8% who describe themselves as none of the above (the proportion of “other” respondents has increased from 5% two years ago to 8%, while entrepreneuers has fallen from 18% to 14%). The proportion of female coworkers is growing, up from 32% in 2010 to 38% today. 

The average number of desks and members is growing. The maximum capacity of most spaces is now 41 people, and the average membership size is 44. Desk utilization is up, from 49% to 55%, meaning spaces are being used by their members more frequently.

The majority of coworkers are so content with their workspace that they don’t plan to leave. 62% said they have no plans to leave their locations, while less than 5% will stay just for one month, disproving the notion that coworking is for mobile workers only.

Live on PEI? Wondering about how to find your work future? Join the QSC

This is the new world of work – where you have the social life you need but none of the office bullshit

Live on PEI? Freelancing, an Artisan, Need Work? Why the Queen Street Commons can help you

LinkednetworkforrobIf I am right and we are moving to an economy that depends on our networks, then it is essential that we learn what each of our networks means and what we can do to make them healthier. So, with that in mind, let’s look at mine and I will share some lessons with you.

Here is my social network as created by the Mapping tool on Linkedin. It’s not the 100% true picture but it looks like 90% to me. You can use their mapping tool by going here.

Next week, I will post a podcast that I recorded yesterday with the Master of Networks, Valdis Krebs. Anything I know is because of him. He will go much deeper than I – so this is an introduction. (Edit – Here is the link to Valdis’s Podcast)

Diversity - In nature diversity is a good thing – so it is with our social networks. You can see that I am connected to a series of worlds. PEI , Public Media, Network Thinkers, Family and I have 2 outside nets of New Military Thinkers and my legacy Corporate connections.

I think that this does not look too bad – I have good links into many fields. How does your world look?

Our networks are like gardens, we can always make them better. We can always add and remove. We can always pay attention.

We can always strengthen these links. This does not mean that you randomly try and make friends. This mapping tool shows you where to be most effective. For you don’t not have to work everywhere – only where it adds the most value.

Key Connectors

Peinet

Lets look at inside PEI. Karen Murchison, John Morris and Cynthia King – all members of the Queen Street Commons have massive connections on PEI to artisans and freelancers. They are themselves clustered in the centre like a sun in a planetary system. The QSC is in reality a hub of the freelance and artisanal life on PEI. If you want to be a successful freelancer on PEI, the QSC is a good place to start.

There is a hierarchy in networks. The ones who are most connected and the ones who connect across networks are the most important. Where do you fit with these key people? Maybe you are one of them. Look at Will Pate in the Green on the top right. Will is an Islander who lives away and is a connector between PEI and the Network Thinkers. Will is important for PEI.

The people who connect one system to another are VERY important people.

Your key networks will share this kind of hierarchy. Important to know how it works and where you stand.

Timebypubmedia
Tim Eby is such a system connector. He is not only well connected inside pub media – he was the Chair of NPR – but is well connected people who can help such as Doc Searls – who is in turn the connector into Network Thinkers. Having the Trust of people like Tim and Doc is therefore important. It is not easily gained either.

This is not a cocktail party – but your life. How you behave is key.

Jevonnetworktwin

There are ultra close connectors – as in my case Jevon MacDonald who is like a twin to me. I don’t want to piss Jevon off as he can influence most of my network. You too will have your Jevons. Pay attention to them. They are better than family.

I said that this was just an introduction, so we will stop here. Much more to come with Valdis and later with others.

So when you map your world, check these issues:

  • Are you happy with how diverse it is? If it is not diverse you will find it hard to use crowd sourcing etc and you will be too deep in your own echo chamber
  • Do you know who your key connectors are and do you care enough about them? For they give you the best access to the sub networks?
  • Do you know who counts the most in each network? Again this is all about leverage.

For in the real network world it is not the number of “Friends” you have but the quality of your inner circle.

Is there a better way to see your network? I think that there is. My advice, and Valdis’s advice is to map out your best connections and then see how this works. Here is how you can do this using thePermaflower and Magic Numbers (Dunbar’s Social Gradients). Using your Linkedin map then fill out this more personal map.

Permaflowernetdesignideal.001

Put your 3 most important people in the centre. Then the 8. Then the 80. See how they overlap or don’t. Then you can start to see where you need to pay attention.

You can then use this map to see what you need to do to fit what you need your network to be about. don’t worry the work is not about sucking up.

In the podcast with Valdis we will talk a lot about “Weak Ties” and explode the myth that these are merely casual aquaintances. We will see that trust is the key. Old but good friends are very valuable to us. You don’t need to talk or see them a lot but you have to maintain the trust.

Later we will explore what you have to BE rather than what you have to DO.

More on all of this in my book - You Don’t Need a Job and even more in the book to come in November – You Don’t Need a Banker. For when it comes to the new credit system – which is of course the OLD credit system – your reputation and your network are everything.

It’s all about the kind of person you are.

The LinkedIn Tool is very easy to use and allows you to do all sorts of tests and analysis – I cannot recomend it enough. Happy exploring.  You future depends on knowing more about your network.

Worried about your future? Why Joining a Co Working Site is a Good Idea

Growthofcoworking
Look at the growth of Co Working sites. What is going on?

What is going on is that we are seeing the emergence of the new face to face workplace that fits the life of the freelancer – who is at the core of the real new economy.  (All images from the 2nd global survey of co working – PDF here)

You can have a job now, be a student, be on the verge of retirement, be just layed off – here is where you can find the network you need and learn how to be a human again.

I think that the Co Working Space is the “Factory” of our time. This is the social space that the Freelancer needs to combat the separation and loneliness of the solo role. This is the social space that opens us each up to the broader network. It is also the space where we learn to be a proper human again – where how we behave matters.

Here is a map that will show you the closest one to you.

Coworkingimpact

What they offer is a real Tribe. While the income has improved – look at all the other parts of life that are better!

Coworkingrural
They were mainly very urban. But look at how they are growing now in rural areas.

The Queen St Commons was started in 2005 – we were one of the first 5 in the world in a city of less than 35,000. We were an oddity but now are more of the new norm as rural co work grows. As more of us leave the city, the Rural Co Working spot becomes more important. Rural sites also have to have an economic model that fits – much more a co-op than a top down space rental.

Lots to learn from each other as new micro models emerge. So lots of good reasons for Co Working spaces to get connected now to each other.

Coworkingglobalnetwirk
The next big move I think will be connecting all the co working sites into a global network. So a member of a site in a rural village can get to London or New York or Mumbai! And then think of the power of the connections?

My new book You Don’t Need a Job - explores more of the value of co working for anyone who wants to put a toe into the real new economy.

Why PEI Entrepreneurs are so successful

PEI punches way above its weight – Why?

Rocketdog
Few places in Canada could be further away from the main markets of North America. Few places have less resources than PEI.  But I found last week, as I travelled with StartUp Canada around PEI, that our entrepreneurs are doing very well.

Many have operations, such as Marks Work Warehouse and Island Abby Foods, that are amongst the best in class. Many have businesses, such as BioVectra and DME, that have found a niche that makes them unrivaled in the continent. Many are astonishingly novel like Thinking Big and Screenscape.

Why should small businesses in a small place be so competitive?

It’s in the Island DNA

PEI is too small and too far away to attract large mature businesses from away. So business on PEI is naturally always small and owner operated. And because PEI itself is small, PEI business has always had to find a place in the larger markets off Island.  It’s been like this for 200 years.

Duncan2
As Duncan Shaw told me about his family, “Few people ever had a job. We come from a long line of pioneers, farmers, fishers and small business owners.”

Potatoes were run to the Caribbean in exchange for the official cargo of molasses and the unofficial cargo of rum. Fish was run to Boston. Lumber to the UK. Fox fur and lobster to Upper Canada.

Lorraine
So like their forefathers, Lorraine MacAulay had to start her Mosquito repellent business by breaking into the large national stores. Peter Toombs had to sell his brewing equipment all over the world. They had to begin by being very clever and persistent.

So how did they get so smart?

It’s not school – It’s Family and Mentors

We think that having great schools are key to developing smart people. But most of the entrepreneurs I met last week told me that they did not fit into school culture. Some never finished school. Others had to force themselves to finish. Dico Reijers took 7 years to do his BA.

All told me that culture of entrepreneurship was set at home. All told me that they grew up in a family where running your own business was the normal. The dinner table was their classroom.

Some entrepreneurs went to business school. But for most, the best business lessons were taught by mentors. They learned the old fashioned way, like an apprentice, from advice given by a person who lived their life. Entrepreneurs helping Entrepreneurs.

I asked all of them about whether school needed to be changed. None of them dismissed school. They acknowledged that not everyone should be or even could be an entrepreneur. But they hoped that the school system would see that it could help by identifying the characteristics of kids, like Matt below, who were destined to be entrepreneurs. Then the entrepreneurs could help.

Matt
For entrepreneurship on PEI is a personal and individual thing.  All the older PEI entrepreneurs I spoke to want to reach out and offer more of their time as mentors to the young up and coming new class of rebels. What they want is a better way to connect.

If PEI stays true to its business DNA – we will do well

Large bureaucratic structures are dying. Youth unemployment in Canada and the US is over 20% and in Europe is close to 50%. Many middle aged workers are being made redundant. Pensions that many have relied are being diminished. For societies that have more embraced the job and the bureaucracy, the transition will be very hard.

But here on PEI, I see now that we could adjust quite well. The modern PEI entrepreneur is already competing in the new networked global marketplace. They are hiring. They are growing. They are doing what Island business people have always done.

All they need to do now that is different is to work together.

Group

If the PEI entrepreneurs get together and work with each other to boost the local ecosystem.

BioA
If those in government do the same. Then this little Island could do very well.

This insight is the great gift that the visit of StartUp Canada brought. They held up the mirror to who we really are. Now we must not waste this gift. Time to act .

It’s up to us now.

PS Next week I will start a 2 week series on what I have learned from our wonderful entrepreneurs

Why a Networked Artisanal Economy will work for PEI

This is a great future for PEI and is in our reach. This is why the QSC is backing StartUp Canada and their visit in the week of May 7th.

If you like this vision – join us at the QSC on May 8th – details here

One of the most challenging parts of PEI’s situation is that we don’t have enough young to sustain our society in the next 25 years. This problem is shared by all the Provinces in Atlantic Canada.

For a generation, governments have tried to change this by doing their best to attract large employers to set up operations here. This has not worked and, as the industrial model further concentrates, has even less chance of working now.

So we have a government sector that is too large, on PEI 65% of GDP, a large group of people living off the social system, a few people with jobs and a lot of ultra small businesses. The only sector here that has any chance of keeping our young home and of attracting young from away is the very small.

In the past the very small was only for hobbyists. The web now makes it possible for once were hobbyists to access a global market. Young women in villages in England sell knitting patterns to a market in the millions. Authors self publish books on Amazon.

For what is also new is that there is a large and growing market for products and services that people can trust – defined as those made by persons and not faceless organizations. Grass Fed Beef versus Feedlot Beef. Real soap versus chemicals. Real IT support versus and Indian Call Centre. Real Toys versus dangerous ones.

So who would come and do this? Are not all the young going to the cities? Yes many still leave the boonies for the city. But many of the city folk are now leaving the city. Those that are leaving the city are among the most aware and thoughtful.

They cannot make a good living in the big city anymore.

For they too cannot get the paid work that will enable them to pay the high prices for housing. Many also don’t trust the faceless organization as an employer anymore either. They don’t trust them to keep their word as an employer or keep the quality of what they do.

They see no future for themselves as employees of the big or as citizens of the big.

These people want to make a difference. They want to raise their kids in a real world. They don’t care about the flash and the glitz. They want to do real things and so be real and live in a real place.

They want to find a REAL HOME.

PEI is a great place to do this from.

There is a huge spread in housing costs in favour of a move here to support you. A 700 square foot condo is priced at about $350,000. You can buy a mansion for that here or say 50 acres and a home for half of that in Eastern PEI. You can find the home at a price that will not be a millstone. A low housing cost is a prerequisite for a life of meaning.

Then we offer community. Not a thousand friends on Facebook – but a real human community. There are networks of Foodies, Film makers, Artists, Musicians, Programmers, Marketers, Teachers, Writers – You will find support right away.

We offer a REAL BRAND – for with all our faults – this is still a REAL community and we are SMALL and will never be that corporate.

And so what do these people do for us? 10,000 families that have these values moving here in the next 10 years would change everything for the better. We would restore the vitality of our society. We woud build the economy that can sustain us in difficult times.

We would have a future. So I ask – Get Behind this – I know of no other way.

 

Why I think Networked Artisanal StartUps are so important to PEI

We on PEI have to have thousands of new young immigrants living here in the next 10 years. So what will pull them here?

There are few jobs. 65% of GDP is government and even that is shrinking. They will only come here if there is a vibrant StartUp economy that is based on Entrepreneurs.

So what do those terms StartUp and Entrepreneur mean for PEI?

When I heard the word “entrepreneur” or “startup”, I used to think of Hi Tech Pioneers. But this never made sense for PEI. For if you want to do that, it is best if you are connected to the Tech Village in the Valley.  We are not close enough to where the real action is in Tech for a Facebook to emerge here.

I also used to think that every Entrepreneur worth her salt would want to grow the business to be very large. Then I thought of who has done this in Atlantic Canada. Sobeys, McCains and Irving. Not exactly a huge field and so not a useful ambition. We are not close enough to the financial centre. And if you make something we are too far away from the markets.

But all of our development is based on these assumptions. So what then will work?

An immigration/development strategy based on supporting the small artisan networking their way to dominance locally and then globally.

Sounds mad? Well here are the underpinning trends that will make this work – for it is working now on a small scale.

  • A New Market Based on Trust that can only be satisfied by the small in a network. More and more people do not trust the products and services of the Big. What is in my food? What is in my shampoo? What is in my drug? Why does my washing machine fail after 2 years? Why can I never get service? What is on my toy … The response to this is a movement towards what can be trusted. Meat raised in small herds where animals live the life they were designed to live by people we know and meet in the street. Soap made by people we know who use real ingredients in small batches. Tech service people who we know. Toys made in a person’s home. Clothes made by someone you know.
  • The Network Provides Scale and Ease of Access These artisans have always existed and have eked out a marginal living. But the new web based network is changing the game. Now we can buy direct and it is easy. Many pasture meat producers in a network = a lot of meat. Many small soap makers in a network = a lot of soap. Small and artisan no longer condemns you to the sidelines.
  • This model has access to the Network Effect and so offers better margins and financing than the traditional. As we have seen for Raymond Loo, Patrick Ledwell and Tim Chaisson, now the community of your customers will finance you. CSA is becoming how the new artisanal farmer gets her working capital. Community Equity, as with Justus Coffee, is how larger sums can be raised from your customers! Customers who now work for you. Customers who market for you and who sell for you.  The network effect also works at the scale of the node. Jen and Derek plant a wide range of plants and sell a basket, so if the tomatoes fail, as they did last year, they are OK. On a pasture farm, the cows help the pigs who help the chickens and vice versa.

This market for Trust is small in total but huge for PEI. It can only be accessed by the small. The large corporates will be shut out of it. It is growing as people wake up and see the risks that they take in buying mass market goods and services. These customers want their suppliers to succeed and will support them in all sorts of ways. It’s a common movement.

Talented people are also waking up to the fact that they cannot trust their future to a job in the old system and in the big cities. We are seeing a trickle now of talented people leaving the old life and coming to Atlantic Canada where they can make a living and where the key cost of a home is in reach.

Just as many Atlantic Canadians go west in search of a well paying job, life is very precarious in the big cities now. A one bedroom condo is about $350,000 in Toronto and more in Vancouver. The young are underemployed and locked out. Or if a couple both have jobs and a home, the loss of one job renders them homeless. The Toronto couple will not come here to get a well paying job, they want to come here and make a decent living. They want to make things themselves and not work for wages.

They want to make things and make a living doing something that is truly them. This is what the new networked artisanal economy offers both sides. This is why customers invest in their suppliers. All want meaning and to be part of getting independence from the corporate grip.

These are people who will set up deep roots here on PEI and like the Back to the Landers make a contribution. They are not here to get a passport but to have  a life and to make a living.

So how to support this?

Stop the vain focus on the big - they will never come and they will never grow here. They never have so why think they will now. But a focus on big misses the real opportunity to network the small into a big network.

Stop the vain focus on Jobs. A smart new company will not employ a lot of people full time. It may never offer a “Job” but it will offer work.  Jobs are not the thing – paid work is the thing. Only a fool will fix their overhead. Most organizations will be family based. If they want marketing, they will reach into the network and find a trusted supplier. If they want book keeping, they will do the same.

Stop the focus on Hi Tech. The real new artisans use a lot of high tech, but they use it to make things not as an end in themselves. The film makers at the Film Factory use it to make big films. The Great Canadian Soap Company use it to sell their products.

Instead help support the networks - support groups that get together – help them make it easy for people to buy local food and anything. Make it easy for people from away to buy artisanal good and services from us.

Instead help families who want to do this come here. Reach out to them.

In the Week of May 7, my pals from Start Up Canada will be here to help us get behind this and to help connect us to the Canadian and the Global Network. At the Queen St Commons on May 7 we will have a get together to talk about how all the artisanal sectors can help each other.

Join Us Please May 8 6pm Queen St Commons 224 Queen – $10 to cover food and drinks costs.

Our ambition to help PEI become as self sufficient and resilient as it was in 1900. Where 80% of what we need is supplied locally.

Worried about losing your Job? Join the QSC – Outplacement 2.0

Do you work for the Feds or the CBC? Will you be losing your job? Think about joining the QSC as the best way to find out how best to work for yourself and the best way to start in a supportive network.

I am sure that the Feds and the CBC will offer you outplacement services. They will help you craft a resume. They will help you find a focus for your skills etc. All of the support you will be given will be in the context of a job. But as you know – there are few jobs out there. There will be fewer in the future.

I don’t think that this traditional outplacement will help much.  For it has the wrong context – there are few if any jobs to get.

But there is a a great new economy emerging that is all based on you making a living with real skills you not on your own but in a network. So a network of filmakers on PEI. (The Film Factory). Networks of Artisans. Networks of small farmers. Networks of Soap Makers. Networks of Marketers and so on.

The key to your future will be in finding what you love the most and what you do the best. AND to do this inside the support of a network. It will be the network that makes this work.

You cannot learn this on a course or from a book. You have to learn it by living it. Sitting at home with your computer or loom is a hard and lonely way to start.

Joining a Co Working Site is your best Outplacement. Here you live the new life for real. You can do this now while still employed too. Here is more

If you life on PEI then the Queen Street Commons is your Co Working Site. At the QSC on PEI  you will be surrounded by people that live the life of a freelancer. They can teach you better than any book or course. The QSC itself is a network of support. Members are diverse and there is hardly a sector of work and life that a member does not know a lot about. So you can use their network to explore as well.

Learning how to be this new you will prepare you for the world that is rapidly emerging.

Here is a link to a bit more on the trend. And in the meantime – please contact us.

According to a new study from MBO Partners, a company offering services to independent consultants, by 2013, the number of independent workers in America is expected to grow from 16 million to more than 20 million. By 2020, that figure could climb to include more than half of U.S. workers, leading to a new independent majority comprised of freelancers, consultants and other independent workers.

Blame the economic turmoil or a change in values, but more people are demanding greater self-reliance, control and satisfaction in their professional lives. For example, 75 percent of independents surveyed by MBO Partners stated that doing something they love was more important than making money while 74 percent stated that they wanted a job where they know they were making a difference.

MBO CEO Gene Zaino highlighted results from the national study last week at theGigaOM Net:Work conference in San Francisco. In an accompanying article, he writes optimistically about the promise of a pioneering, independent workforce but warns that there are obstacles standing in the way, including a surge in government regulations and corporate complexity in engaging independent talent.

“If we do not address the obstacles and complexity around the free and productive use of independent talent, companies — as well as these talented experts — may choose the troubling path of leaving this great country and going elsewhere,” warns Zaino.

Other key findings from the study:

  • The independent workforce spans gender and generations and is currently 16 million strong in the United States
  • Nearly 60 percent of independent workers stated that they are highly satisfied with their work situation versus half of employees who are unhappy
  • More than half of independent workers (55 percent) say it was their proactive choice to become an independent worker

From Viagra to Kombucha – the rise of the artisanal economy

The artisanal economy rises from the ashes of the old – I like this idea of a Culinary Incubator – Don’t you?

Three well-known tenants have already signed leases on production space.

Three well-known tenants have already signed leases on production space.Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Good-bye, Viagra; hello, kombucha: The old Pfizer plant on Flushing Avenue will soon become a booming culinary production facility. In fact, Grub Street has learned that Kombucha BrooklynBrooklyn Soda Works, and Steve’s Ice Cream have already signed the leases and taken up shop.

The eight-story, 660,000-square-foot Williamsburg plant was originally eighty-sixed in 2008. Acumen Capital Partners — a real estate investment firm whose other projects includes the Brooklyn Grange — took the property over last year. The building’s unique (FDA-approved) facilities are ideal for food production. For example, KBBK will be able to brew tea and store live cultures for its kombucha at a specific, controlled range of temperatures.

The plan has at least one well-known supporter, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz. His office e-mailed the following statement to us:

Losing Pfizer was a big blow to Brooklyn but I was determined to make sure that this building continued to provide high quality jobs to Brooklynites. I want to commend Acumen Partners for their commitment and creativity and for bringing in great companies like Kombucha Brooklyn, Brooklyn Soda Works and others. Like Pfizer, these companies are starting small, but one day they may be as big or even bigger than Pfizer and they will never turn their back on their place of birth, Brooklyn, U.S.A.

Between this and the just-announced 3rd Ward culinary incubator, Brooklyn’s powers-that-be are doing quite a bit to support the borough’s thriving food scene.

To be an artisan is to be truly human

We are designed to be artisans not “workers”. To make things makes us truly human and happy – don’t believe me? Read this

We live in a society enamored by passive entertainment and increasingly invested in the virtual experience. Fewer of us have jobs that show us the tangible results of our efforts. Rarer still are full claim on a project or creative license in our work. It leaves a gap, I think, in how we live – in how we exercise the innate physical and creative abilities that make us human.

Although we tend to think of our pre-Neolithic ancestors as living a life stuck in the dirt with no sense of the arts or any other “refinement,” we’re far off course in that assumption. Artistry is indeed an anthropological indicator of modern behavior, but evidence of these inclinations date back tens of thousands of years before the Agricultural Revolution. Our Paleolithic ancestors were creating jewelry from eggshells and bone fragments. They were sewing clothes with animal sinew. They formed vessels and wove baskets. They created paints and dyes. They chiseled spear heads from metal so brittle few of us can even imagine the deftness required. They meticulously whittled shafts for the most aerodynamic, accurate spears. They designed vast stretches of nuanced cave art.

As anthropologists suggest, these inclinations toward craft and artistry were selected for. They increased the survival chances of individuals and their communities. A skilled spear maker added obvious value. Yet those who could design jewelry or other adornment introduced “material metaphors” and “social technologies” that enhanced kinship relationships and community identity as well as expanded the terms of inter-band negotiation.

Artistry then was usable if not practical. Today, Western society has largely segregated art to an aesthetic corner. It may represent life but doesn’t intersect much with it. However, individuals still practice crafts handed down to them by family or community members. Likewise, many traditional societies continue to pass down the art forms and crafts as “collective wisdom” that help define their distinctive cultures.

A recent study (PDF) conducted by the University of California Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities recently highlighted “the link between traditional artistic practices and mental and physical health.” Although examining such an association isn’t a simple or clear cut task with the methods of standard research, interviews suggested traditional handicraft bears positive impact on measures like “interconnected mind-body awareness,” “spiritual and emotional growth; physical vigor; strengthening of personal and community identity; and mitigation of historical trauma” as well as therapeutic “distraction from illness” and “enhanced respect for elders.”

Continue reading