-By Howard Lyon

We live in amazing times.  Machines are helping us get things faster and cheaper and with great benefit to society.  There are very few sectors of business or economy that aren’t impacted by the rise of robots.  I know I am not alone in wondering about the cost to humanity though.  I don’t think we should go back to 18th century technology by any means.  I hear laptops back then were pretty slow.

I do think that society will increasingly value things that are made by hand over those that are manufactured on a mass scale.  It has always been true to some extent, but as we enter a world where mass scale manufacturing becomes even more global in its reach and 3D printers become common place, I believe the value we will place on commodities will decrease.  While it will be amazing to download and print a shoe, or flashlight, something that is crafted by a person, using analog tools will become ever more precious.

I think this relates very well to artists.  We are able to make prints and distribute digital images around the world, but for me there is still magic in the original that adds value.  It is more precious to me.

There is a wonderful series called “Made by Hand” that documents some individuals who make a living.

“Each film aims to promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft. Based in Brooklyn, the project takes its influence from the handmade movement here and elsewhere. We hope you find the spirit of it inspiring.”

The Knife Maker – is about Joel Bukiewicz, the owner of Cut Brooklyn.  His knives are in great demand with a months long waiting list.

*There is some strong language in the video.


The Cigar Shop – Founded in 1974, Don Antonio Martinez’s shop has attracted loyal customers who value their craft and skill.  I don’t smoke, but it was fascinating watching them work in the video.  I would love to visit the shop sometime to watch them work.


There are several more Made By Hand videos and all are worth watching.

Here is another video that I absolutely love.  I have watched it a dozen times or so and it inspires me to aim for excellence.

“David A. Smith is a traditional sign-writer/designer specialising in high-quality ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and decorative silvered and gilded mirrors. David recently produced a wonderful turn-of-the-century, trade-card styled album cover for popular American singer/songwriter John Mayer.”


I watched another great video this week shared by James Gurney on his wonderful blog.

It is about Master Penman Jake Weidmann:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvSyQDu49pI]

There is a series by Etsy called Handmade Portraits that is fascinating.  There are 76 videos in the series.  Sorry productivity.  This marathon isn’t going to run itself.

Sword Maker

This is a video about sword maker Korehira Watanabe.  His pursuit over the last 40 years has been to recreate the Koto sword, the method of which has been lost since before the 14th century.  After 35 years he believes some of his swords approach the Koto blades.

He expresses that his wish is for his apprentice to surpass his skill and pass on his passion and knowledge to make him greater.  Inspiring.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSZKGzGqOt0]

Pogo Boards – Makers of longboards, snowboards and surfboards. Beautiful craftsmanship. The video starts with them gathering wood from the forest to make their boards.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyVvvPvlitM]

I hope that you found some inspiration and motivation in these videos the same way I did.  As artists we are lucky to work in a field where we have the chance to create something.  All the hard work it takes to make this career is so worth it.

If you have any videos that you think would fit in this post, share them in the comments or email me at artdrop@howardlyon.com and I will add them to the post!

Howard Lyon