Masters of Craft: Five years later


31 March 2022

This Garland podcast explores how the gentrification of trades that developed in the 2010s has fared during the pandemic. It offers a glimpse of a renewed interest in ancient craft practices.

We interview Richard Ocejo, author of Masters of Craft: New Jobs in the Old Economy (2017). This intriguing book described a trend among white middle-class men in taking on manual trades. These included bartender, barber, butcher and distiller. We explore how this differentiates from the hipster figure as an ironic consumer and the complications of the term “master”. Then we turn to the impact of the pandemic on these gentrified trades. Their dependence on an audience means the lockdown did have a negative effect on their work.

Ocejo ends with a powerful tale of a local potter who teaches his craft who told him:

“The world doesn’t need more plates. The world doesn’t need more cups. That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re trying to connect people here with an ancient practice and that’s what makes us who we are.”

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