“There are more valid facts and details in works of art than there are in history books.”
— Charlie Chaplin, comic actor
In this episode, it’s all about the craft – the creation process. Whether it is a live music performance, theatre, sculpting or even pottery repair, very often the end result is more than the sum of its parts. It starts with an idea, a vision or a story that needs to be told. Often the process involves working with your hands, ‘getting your hands dirty’, but sometimes the end product is not some you can touch or taste, like this podcast. But always, any result of a craft worth talking about brings value. Value in the sense of accomplishment for the artist, but also value for the ‘recipient’ – whether that be an audience member at a show, the new owner of the crafted product or even simply the listener of a podcast episode.
Join us as we discuss some of our favourite crafts, examples of art and crafts that we hold dear to our hearts, and learn how having your own craft can be essential to your own happiness and mental wellbeing. So pick up a chisel or a paint brush and press play!
The central topic of this episode is crafting or the creation process. We discuss many examples of this in the episode, such as sculpting something out of a block of wood (as we did in our woodwork class back in school), the je ne sais quoi that is created when a production company puts on a live show in a theatre (such as Les Misérables in London’s West End), or the creation story behind the greatest album of all time (as per Rolling Stones magazine) – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
A Druid favourite, Sgt Peppers was the soundtrack to the 1960’s flower power movement, uniting people of different generations and cultures. Check out the ‘further reading’ section below for more on this great album.
Found something interesting discussed in this episode? Chances are, we found it interesting too and we went off and did a bunch of reading online about it.
So why not dive further into the topic! Here are some handy links we think you might like.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by The Beatles. Released in May 1967, it spent 27 weeks at number one on the Record Retailer chart in the United Kingdom. It was lauded by critics for its innovations in songwriting, production and graphic design and for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and high art. Its release was a defining moment in 1960s pop culture, heralding the Summer of Love, while the album’s reception achieved full cultural legitimisation for pop music and recognition for the medium as a genuine art form.
The Beatles quit touring in early 1966, they spent 3 months apart and then came together in late ’66 to start recording the album. Afforded the luxury of a nearly limitless recording budget, and with no absolute deadline for completion, the band booked open-ended sessions that started at 7 pm and allowed them to work as late as they wanted. They began with “Strawberry Fields Forever”, followed by two other songs that were thematically linked to their childhoods: “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Penny Lane”.
Regarded as the greatest album of all time Rolling Stones magazine (and Mr Beard), Sgt Peppers pushed the boat when it came to technical invention and groundbreaking recording techniques. Even the album cover itself has a fascinating story, costing approx. 60 times the average album cover at the time! You do yourself a disservice if you do not listen to this album a few times through.
The Beatles Anthology is a television documentary, a three-volume set of double albums, and a book focusing on the history of the Beatles. Beatles members Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr participated in the making of the works, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the Anthology project, while John Lennon appears in archival interviews.
The documentary series was first broadcast in November 1995, with expanded versions released on VHS and LaserDisc in 1996 and on DVD in 2003. The documentary used interviews with the Beatles and their associates to narrate the history of the band as seen through archival footage and performances. The Anthology book, released in 2000, paralleled the documentary in presenting the group’s history through quotes from interviews.
The Anthology series takes a form similar to that of the Anthology book, by being a series of first-person accounts by the Beatles themselves. Footage in the Anthology series features voice-over recordings of all four Beatles to push the narrative of the story, with contributions from their producer, road manager and others. As well as telling their story through archival footage, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr appear in interview segments recorded exclusively for the series; John Lennon appears only in historic archival footage.
The series, which included over five thousand hours of planning and production, is composed of numerous film clips and interviews that present a complete history of the band from the Beatles’ own personal perspectives. For more on this documentary series, check out it’s IMDB page
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A theory of Human Motivation”. Maslow then extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. He then created a classification system which reflected the universal needs of society as its base and then proceeding to more acquired emotions.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is used to study how humans intrinsically partake in behavioral motivation. Maslow used the terms “physiological”, “safety”, “belonging and love”, “social needs” or “esteem”, and “self-actualization” to describe the pattern through which human motivations generally move. This means that in order for motivation to arise at the next stage, each stage must be satisfied within the individual themselves. Additionally, this theory is a main base in knowing how effort and motivation are correlated when discussing human behavior. Each of these individual levels contains a certain amount of internal sensation that must be met in order for an individual to complete their hierarchy. The goal in Maslow’s theory is to attain the fifth level or stage: self-actualization.
SimplyPsychology has an article on this, going in to more detail. Check it out here.
Kintsugi (“golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (“golden repair”), is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
As a philosophy, kintsugi is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect. Japanese aesthetics values marks of wear from the use of an object. This can be seen as a rationale for keeping an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage, and can be seen as a variant of the adage “Waste not, want not”.
Kintsugi can relate to the Japanese philosophy of “no mind”, which encompasses the concepts of non-attachment, acceptance of change, and fate as aspects of human life. To see some examples of kintsugi pottery, as well as learn about the different techniques of repair, check out this article on mymodernmet.com.
The guitar has been played for thousands of years, since evolving from the Lute and the Vihuela. The earliest guitars were made almost entirely out of wood, with some using animal intestines for strings and frets. Materials have become easier to obtain over the past 200 years. As a result, guitars are currently made out of materials that better suit their intended use. Frets and strings, for example, are now almost exclusively made out of metal, which is much longer lasting and more ideal than organic material.
The earliest guitars were not designed for mass production. Each guitar produced was a unique instrument artfully crafted by its luthier. This practice was common until the turn of the 18th century with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. And while early mass production of guitars dramatically increased the number of guitars in circulation, each instrument was still handcrafted by a single or team of luthiers. For luthiers who still choose to handcraft their instruments, methods have changed very little over the past 500 years.
Mr. C tells us in this episode that he plans to build his very own electric guitar with the help of his carpenter uncle. We will be sure to post some pictures (and maybe record a tune or two!) when the project is finished.
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