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FOCUS: The Revival of the Artisan
Artisans, The Industrial Revolution & William Morris.
by Larissa of www.giggleicious.com
‘Life without industry is guilt, and History level you had to be able to afford
industry without art is brutality.’ There were levels within artisans. to start your own business and in
John Ruskin. First were the labourers and addition, during the middle ages,
unskilled workers and then there to be respectable, have a family and
Artisans were the masters (artisans). There demonstrate enough skill to become
ar-ti-san - a person skilled in an applied were divisions of class as well, some a member of a guild… to create a
art; a craftsperson. related to the class of the customers ‘master piece’!
and the cost of materials and some
Before the industrial revolution if related to the skill involved in the The downfall of the Artisans came
you wanted a dress you went to a craft itself. with the ‘industrial revolution’
dress-maker. If you wanted a basket, (c.70-c.0). Machines took over
you went to a basket-maker (that To learn a trade or craft you would from people. The steam-engine was
is if you weren’t crafty and could become an apprentice as young as invented, as were trains. Mills and
make it yourself). The people who 7 years old. Although this was very factories popped up all over the
were highly skilled in making such young you were not to be treated as country. Because of this there was a
speciality items were known as a servant but to learn the trade and huge rise in rural unemployment as
‘artisans’. The chief trades were; shoe- help out with menial tasks round the new technologies made labourers
making, building, tailoring, cabinet- house. After some time you could and craftspeople redundant. People
making, printing, clock-making, then travel and learn more from migrated en masse to work in
baking, skilled jewellers and textile other masters and you would be factories in the cities which caused
working. known as a journeyman. Eventually mass poverty and work was badly
you could return home and be your paid and unsafe. Apprenticeship
own ‘master’. But to rise to that regulations set up in  fell
2 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2009
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