Cræft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts
By Alexander Langlands
“Craeft” is an exploration of traditional crafts, a series of essays and histories, a mix of scientific, academic, and personal.
An early chapter is about defining “craeft”, an old Anglo-Saxon word with rich conceptual meaning. It seems that, more so than it does today, it used to connote a dimension of knowledge and learning, mental as well as physical skill, and even a kind of virtue. I’m interested to learn more about this history!
Langlands, an “archaeologist and BBC presenter” is clearly also a devoted student of all sorts of crafts; the focus is on traditional British crafts but seems to cover a great deal, from haymaking to beekeeping, basket making to tanning hides and spinning wool.
It seems like a lot of fun; even a quick skim turns up all sorts of interesting anecdotes and a very approachable style. And there’s something very appealing about reconnecting with the deeper roots of some of the practices that make us human.