Craft: Sweat & Joy Podcast

In the first two podcasts of her series, Patsy Rodenburg and her colleague, Eliot Shrimpton discuss the erosion of craft in teaching, artistry and leadership.

Practising and teaching craft takes a mixture of resilience and humility. Craft requires hours of repetition and reworked correction when taught to inexperienced students. It takes time and is therefore expensive to teach. However, the benefits of learning an embodied practice are limitless; not only in maintaining excellence in the performing arts but in the actual process of physical learning.

Craft is about doing; it is beyond explanation or a reading list. It is learning that can’t be bluffed or taken from A.I.. The results are clear and seen; heard, felt and experienced. Through repetition craft becomes organic. It frees and focuses the imagination. It allows the craftsperson to pour their body, mind, heart and spirit into what they are making.

And with the hard work comes the joy. The joy of achievement, nailing it, consistency, invention and transformation.

Once you have succeeded in learning one craft, the door opens and you can apply the same working processes to any other craft. It is a transferable skill.

Everyone can learn craft. It is not a secret known to a few but a discipline that our species developed very early in our evolution. Everyone, in every community, learned how to work in this way; so known and relevant to our survival that we have taken craft for granted.

Someone showed a child how to weave a basket or knap an arrowhead. Every so often a child found joy in making the basket and then excelled at basket making. Better baskets changed their community for better.

Craft is essential if you want to excel. It is the journey towards your chosen profession; the team, the band, the guild, the ensemble.

Check the latest episodes here