Tom D'Onofrio
excerpts from Craftsmanship and the Quest
for Self-Discovery 1976*

The basic assumption upon which the Baulines Crafts Guild was founded is the following statement:

The way for creative social change is through the emancipation of individual consciousness. Stated simply, it implies that the society can only be as evolved as the individuals who compose it. When the individual has the freedom and is strongly influenced by the society to develop his inner creative spirit, a Renaissance of Conscious-ness occurs and "free ideas" flourish. New concepts for human interaction occur and both the individual and the society as a whole experience the satisfaction of living on a more advanced frontier of human awareness.

If, on the other hand, the individual spirit is squashed, then normality and mediocrity prevail. Life becomes boring, repetitive and meaningless. If one is involved in quantity day after day with no concern for quality, then there is no need for self exploration. If there is no self-exploration, there is no growth. If there is an absence of growth, we are left with complacency and a heavy sense of dependency. Unless there is an immediate resurgence of creative self reliance within our culture the world of George Orwell's 1984 will silently and completely overwhelm us.

The Guild is not only attempting to influence people to look within for the ultimate resource of meaning, but also to give them skills so that they can express that inner vision with fine quality. In addition, we are trying to educate the public to take seriously handmade objects which are of a one-of-a-kind construction, where the craftsmanship is impeccable, the design esthetically pleasing, and the utility extremely practical. This kind of individual commitment produces a sense of fulfillment which is contagious and leads others to follow suit. The independent artisan is one who projects his or her inner reality into raw materials, and by shaping and molding them according to inner aspirations, create beautiful objects for everyday use. Inner impulses are transmitted from up out of the mysteriousness of the individual pathos into shapes and forms which others can experience.

*Master's paper, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif. 1976, 110 pgs.