Thursday’s Webinar: “With Ready Hands: Exploring the Interplay of Technology and Craft”

Tomorrow night, I will be broadcasting a live webinar from the M&T workshop for the North House Folk School. I’ve turned down almost all of these offers over the past year, because… Zoom. But this is a rare exception. I’ve long wanted to get to know the North House folks better because our interests and visions overlap in several important ways. Also, I’ve been anxious to get talking about my research into technology and craftsmanship. If this webinar is the way I can do these two things right now, so be it.

When asked about a topic I’d like to cover, I knew exactly what it would be. The webinar’s description is below: 


“With Ready Hands: Exploring the Interplay of Technology and Craft”
with Joshua A. Klein, editor of Mortise & Tenon Magazine

We live in a technological world. With our smartphones ever at hand and humanless kiosks all around us, we find ourselves enmeshed in the realm of mechanization and automation. Even those of us “crafty-types” who seek refuge from the madness within the walls of our workshops sometimes find that even this sacred place is not immune to technology’s pull. 

Without a firm grasp of the nature of our tools and technologies, we are destined to feel lost and overwhelmed. We would do well to ask ourselves some fundamental questions:

What are we as craftspeople to understand by the word “technology?” How does it relate to our tools and the work of our hands? Practically speaking, how is machinery distinct from hand tools? And most importantly, how do our tools shape us as we use them?

By drawing on astute observations from philosophers, historians, and anthropologists, Klein will explain how the themes of technology criticism and embodied engagement play out for him at the bench – it’s his philosophy of the woodshop. 

Join us for a deeper look into this important discussion.


Yes, this talk is based on my upcoming article in Issue Ten: “Ready Hands: A Letter to My Sons.” I’ve spent much of my mental energy over the past few years studying and reflecting on the way technology influences us. In the last year, I’ve been developing an outline for a book, but I continue to rework and refine. My article in Ten was an attempt to present the material in a very hands-on way. (Philosophy of technology is typically pretty theoretical stuff, despite the inherent practicality of the subject matter.)

I look forward to the discussion tomorrow night. There will be Q&A at the end, which I expect will furnish fruitful conversation. It’s tomorrow night, 7:00 pm (Central time). It’s a free presentation – you’ve just got to register in advance. I hope to “see” you “there.” 

– Joshua


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