Generational Craftsmanship: Why Sharing Your Craft is the Key to Keeping Artisan Traditions Alive

October 25, 2023

Owner of Nefertem rendering tallow outside the traditional way

Generational craftsmanship is a term that refers to the age-old practice of passing down artisan skills and techniques from one generation to the next, like the art of soap making. It's a vital element in preserving cultural heritage and traditions.

Each piece created by an artisan is not just an object; it's a story, a living link between the past and the future, a testament to human creativity and resilience.

This form of craftsmanship is an intimate process, one that is often steeped in years of tradition and honed by generations of skilled hands. It's about formulating connections on a deeper level, passing on not just skills but also values, stories, and a sense of identity that is deeply rooted in community and family ties.

Generational craftsmanship is the essence of continuity and resilience. It's a evidence of the human spirit's ability to adapt and evolve while still holding onto the threads that tie us to our past.

It's a symphony of human creativity, where every chord struck resonates with the echoes of those who came before us and the promise of those who will follow.


The Role of Sharing in Keeping Craftsmanship Alive

grandma and grandsons working with soap

Sharing is the lifeblood of generational craftsmanship. It's the conduit through which skills, traditions, and values are passed down from one generation to the next. Sharing is not just about teaching; it's about inspiring, mentoring, and fostering a sense of belonging and continuity.

Sharing is also about adaptation and innovation. As each generation learns the craft, they bring their unique perspectives and experiences to it. They adapt and evolve the craft, enriching it with their creativity and ingenuity. This process of sharing, adapting, and creating is what keeps these traditions alive and vibrant.

Moreover, sharing is about creating a legacy. It's about ensuring that these crafts continue to thrive and evolve, that they continue to inspire and bring joy to future generations. By sharing their craft, artisans are not only preserving their heritage; they're shaping their legacy, creating a bridge between the past and the future.


The Challenges of Passing on Artisan Skills

mass produced bread

Passing on artisan skills is not without its challenges. The modern world moves at a fast pace, often leaving little room for traditional practices and crafts. The rise of mass production and consumerism has also led to a decline in the appreciation of artisanal goods, making it difficult for these traditions to survive.

Another challenge lies in the process of teaching itself. These skills are often intricate and complex, requiring years of practice and dedication to master. Finding willing and passionate learners can be difficult, especially in an age where instant gratification is often the norm.

Furthermore, many of these skills are tied to specific materials and environments, making them challenging to preserve in the modern world. Raw ingredients such as grass-fed tallow, used in the soap making process, is progressively harder to find, leading some soapmakers to choose untraditional ingredients such as palm oil or refined olive oil.

Despite these challenges, many artisans are finding innovative ways to adapt and keep their skills alive.


Bringing Artisan Traditions to the Digital Age

soap making video

(Click the image above to watch the soap making process by our founder, Brittany)

Although the rise in technology has created a distinct disconnect from many crafts, the digital age also brings with it a host of opportunities for preserving and sharing artisan traditions. The internet has made it possible for artisans to connect with a global audience, share their skills and creations, and inspire a new generation of crafters through video.

Social media platforms, for instance, are a great way for artisans to showcase their work and share their process. They can also use these platforms to teach and inspire, reaching out to a wider audience than ever before.

Moreover, the rise of e-commerce has opened up new avenues for artisans to sell their creations. Platforms like Etsy and Shopify have made it possible for artisans to reach customers worldwide, helping them sustain their craft through online shopping.


The Future of Traditional Artistry

Brittany pouring tallow into pots

The future of traditional artistry is undoubtedly challenging, but it's also full of promise. By embracing the opportunities that the digital age brings, artisans can continue to share their skills and traditions, inspire a new generation of crafters, and keep their craft alive.

Generational craftsmanship is not just about preserving the past; it's about shaping the future. It's about passing on skills, values, and stories that inspire and enrich, that create a sense of continuity and belonging.

As we move forward, let us remember the importance of these artisan traditions, the role of sharing in keeping them alive, and the potential of the digital age in preserving and promoting them.

Let’s embrace the concept of apprenticeship and seek to selflessly teach the younger generation without expecting anything in return. Let’s make time to learn from our elders the gifts and skills they have to offer.

Even if we don’t think it’s relevant today, the act of learning from our elders undoubtedly brings with it rich wisdom and deep connection to the past.


Support Artisans Who Share Their Craft

traditional crafted soap bars by Nefertem

There are so many amazing artisans who have dedicated themselves to teaching others their traditional craft. These artisans need our support in order to continue doing the important work they do.

Without tooting our own horn, the family behind Nefertem is exactly that.

We are a small, family business dedicated to not only providing quality, traditional bar soap and skincare, but also preserving the art and craft of soap making alive.

We render our own tallow from grass-fed cattle, using that purified fat in our skincare products, leading to rich, nutrient-dense products. The experience of simply using our products tends to remind those who use them of the good ol' days when quality and craftsmanship truly meant something.

Shop Nefertem's tallow soaps today and enjoy a traditionally-crafted, natural bar of tallow soap by artisans committed to preserving the craft for future generations to come.

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