What these men taught me about production work turned my world upside down. Originally, I had thought that production work would turn me into a machine making soulless objects. Those soulless objects for me were tied to a system that cared more about profit for shareholders and less about quality workmanship and design. But I had confused production work with mass production, because production work, in its most basic form, is intrinsically connected to the crafts.
Throughout history, quality objects have often been made in large quantities with a high degree of skill by using craft production methodology. When I came to terms with that, the stigma of production work was lifted and I began to feel free to experiment with some of those methods. To my surprise, the quality of my work actually improved. I saw my work become subtly more refined and, thus, felt better about my making process. I wasn’t so stressed about needing to feel inspired to go to work like I had in the past. I had a new understanding of inspiration – I saw that ideas can come from doing the work itself. This, in conjunction with the process of making a lot of things back to back, pushed me to the next level.
–Jarrod Dahl, excerpt from “The Quest for Mastery Through Production Work” in Issue Four