The god of blacksmithing was a Vulcan

Many of my generation relate to Vulcan through Mr. Spock of Star Trek lore. I for one, grew up on a steady diet of the positive messages from the Original Star Trek series and subsequently The Next Generation.

However the origin of Vulcan is not on some distant planet, but instead, Vulcan was a Roman god here on Earth, who was also known to the ancient Greeks as Hephaestus. Vulcan was the ancient god of fire and the forge, and the mythical inventor of smithing and metal working. He was the ultimate craftsman who forged metals into tools in the fires of Italy's Mount Etna and revered as the patron of blacksmiths around the world.

For everyday household items, modern industrialism has diminished the former importance of the craftsman by outsourcing most manufacturing to China. As a result, the focus of craftsmanship has evolved into the finer realm of artisanship, the making of items that are more closely related to works of art.

I have always enjoyed working with my hands. From my early days of building guitar amplifiers, to creating oil and watercolor paintings, to fine art printmaking, and to ultimately ending up as a metal sculptor and art fabricator, the tactile experience of making things that result in finished products has never gotten shopworn for me.

Maybe more importantly, I have also discovered that there is a spiritual side of craftsmanship. The process of making things reveals much about ourselves that goes much deeper than we would learn as a mere observer. I believe that people can learn about themselves through the things that they make, a form of material culture that matters. Learning from making things requires that we care about the qualities of things like fine cloth, cooking food well, or playing musical instruments. Being curious about the "making" process helps us to understand the real value of our place in this world. Craftsmanship, regardless of the type of skill, focuses on objective standards, on the thing in itself. The word describes an enduring, basic human impulseā€¦ the desire to do a job well merely for the sake of doing it.

I think Spock would agree.
"Live Long and Prosper"