Imagine a society sharply focused on the experiences that truly matter. A society focused on the basic essentials of a meaningful life, where people live with intent, question their possessions, life goals and use of personal time. In this final article in our five-part series on craftsmanship in modern times, we look at the power of Minimalism and its strong connection with Craftsmanship.
MINIMALISM AS A JOURNEY.
What does it mean to live? What type of lifestyle could bring about the most happiness and meaning in our lives? These are some of the questions a minimalist would ask in search of the essentials of mindfulness and ‘deep’ living. Often brushed off as a movement of radical de-cluttering, many people think Minimalism is just about designer capsule wardrobes, branded gadgets and clean loft spaces that only the rich can afford. Reducing one’s possessions is undoubtedly a very obvious component of Minimalism, but it is about so much more than the number of items you own, however few.
Humans weren't born to consume and become trapped in a cycle of buying stuff in the hopes of elevating their social status or filling an emotional hole. Many of us go about our lives in a distracted fashion, continuously in a rush from task to task as we tick off our to-do lists. We never take the time to focus upon what an activity actually means, what sensations we feel, how we respond and react to it, how we could modify it. Minimalism is a paradigm shift that can redefine the nature of living, every day and overall.
REDEFINING OUR PRIORITIES.
Minimalism redefines our priorities. It invites people to think, feel and behave towards less materialism, more meaningful life experiences and higher levels of life satisfaction. A minimalist will begin questioning their possessions, life goals, use of personal time and the memories and experiences they want to create. Minimalism does not only mean decluttering your life of things you no longer need; its biggest benefit is that you're making room for more; more of the things you love and bring value to your life.
What other perspectives are possible when you look at the world in a different way? We can choose to work and earn less, so we can focus on personal growth, family, spirituality and contributing to the community. To a minimalist the maxim is simple, ‘you don’t own your stuff, your stuff owns you’. The minimalist solution to this problem is clear, get rid of the things that are holding you down; simplify your life, routines, career goals; and focus upon experiences.
THE POWER OF MINIMALISM.
Minimalism is about rejecting the norms of mainstream modern society and finding alternative solutions that help you live a life that you love. We have been raised in a society where our status and reputation are attached to the items we own; minimalism teaches us to move away from this mentality, to be free of physical, emotional and financial clutter, to avoid overconsumption, live sustainably, buy less and be careful about what we buy. It’s not about deprivation: there’s nothing wrong in buying per se; it’s about paying attention to what we buy and why; it is about making sure we buy for the right reasons, and not because we feel compelled to; and that the products we buy are environmentally-friendly and made with fair trade practices. Buying less, in more intentional and ethical ways is about arguing for a more equitable society in which people consume proportionately to their needs.
And in a world already being covered in material goods, one where our endless thirst for consumption is destroying the environment, the movement is particularly vocal about recycling, reusing and reducing. Instead of discarding things that can still be used, let’s donate them to charities, to someone who will use them again thus making less of a mark on the environment. And here the link minimalism-craftsmanship is even clearer: things need to be made to last so that, when you are tired of them, someone else can continue to enjoy them for years.
CRAFTSMANSHIP AND MINIMALISM.
Sustainable production and craftsmanship are key to this new minimalism because craftmanship, like Minimalism, is about recognising that it is the quality, not the quantity, that matters. Life is getting faster and volatile and craftsmanship is a pure form of ‘slow living’, which means living with intent and focus. It means rejection of the mass-consumption culture and favouring products that are ethical, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Craftmanship means quality materials and products that are meant to last, in a direct challenge to fast fashion. Craftsmanship and minimalism are both a direct response to our consumption-based society, and reflect an increasing awareness of the impact that extreme consumerism and mass production have on our lives and the environment.
And when you couple craftsmanship with practising mindfulness (embracing and thriving within the present moment), it can raise a new awareness of our place in the broader web of life, allowing us to reconnect with our long-forgotten roots in the natural world.
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“Every generation needs a new revolution.” – Thomas Jefferson
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At UNTAMED STREET we embrace craftsmanship. UNTAMED STREET collections are all artfully handcrafted in Italy, in the Medieval town of Montegranaro, Marche with locally sourced materials. Producing high-quality, handcrafted products is a collaborative enterprise with our suppliers - small, family-owned workshops whose obsession for craftsmanship matches our own.