Industrial Craft

I know I don’t keep this blog up enough, but here’s a good one I came across on Richard’s Facebook. So Richard posted a photo of Lucas holding a 5′-2″ Vanguard, which was designed by Daniel and manufactured in Thailand by Firewire. Under the photo is some interesting commentary.

So if you’ve ever read the “Unknown Craftsmen” by Soetsu Yanagi, then you already know how most of us feel about craftsmanship. But if you haven’t, here’s the Cliff Notes:

Soetsu Yanagi defines craftsmanship as the highest level of “art”/expression–higher than painting, photography, sculpting, etc. Not because craftsmanship is necessarily ‘better’ art/expression than a painting, but because an object made by craftsmen are beautiful AND useful. Objects which serve a ‘purpose’ and are handcrafted are at a different level of art than the type of art we simply gaze upon and admire (such as in a painting), for example. Yanagi provides, in his attempt to define ‘mingei,’ aesthetics of sorts. Yanagi, however, also knew not every object can be hand made. For the billions of people who populate the earth, he knew an army of craftsman hand making a spoon or car isn’t practical…or even smart. Yanagi discusses the need for industrial crafts/the manufacturing of good design. Yanagi uses the example of Eames furniture/chairs, which were manufactured through Herman Miller (in the USA! still are). The design was mass produced, yet, the design was still good.

Industry and businesses mass producing items, especially overseas (v. USA), gets quite controversial. I’m sure you know the argument on both sides, and both sides have their pros and cons. So really, you have to look at each, individual case and decide whether the pros and cons of a specific case are good or not so good. Which is done through thoughtful research. Or even a ‘little’ bit of research. Hell, my 12-year-old niece could Google anything and find a credible source on the subject, read a few paragraphs of information in 10 minutes, and it could be a ‘little bit of research.’ The information is out there.

So yeah, there are some bad designs and bad products out there that are being mass produced and cheaply made. However, anything Hydrodynamica is involved with, isn’t. As Sori Yanagi, Soetsu’s son, said it best, “The fundamental problem is that many products are created to be sold, not used.”

So basically, we support Firewire and their business model, and we support they manufacture quality, well-designed surfboards in Thailand. We like that Firewire supports families who live in San Diego county and supports shapers whose designs we think are cutting edge.

As an aside, all Hydrodynamica surfboards are hand shaped. All of them. And all are made in San Diego county. Daniel–and Firewire–also knows innovation and making things by hand are still critical aspects to good design.

So here’s the stuff that inspired my post today…ha. –posted by MB

lucas Tomo

Comment from “Jeffery”: From taiwan to you? Buy USA,,surfboard builders are supporting thier familys! Thanks RK


lucas tomo contra

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One Response to Industrial Craft

  1. scott o says:

    it’ll be truly wonderful when the “local” thought, living and surfing processes turns global. RK and BH have some interesting points, ‘first-world’ points, but interesting none the less.

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