modus principle #3 | craft.

Mar 30, 2021

guiding principle #3:


passionate, thoughtful practice.

A mindful approach to good design and making ensures that quality and integrity are embedded in our work.


Craft is a process. Craft is the human experience during the act of making. Being creatively engaged with any work is craft. Craft might apply to writing, cooking, painting, or any endeavor of creation. What one does during that process is attempt to bring into convergence the skills one has with the medium, the understanding of the function of the thing, and an understanding of the contextual nature of what’s being created. Both intuition and logic guide this process of creation.

In architecture, craft might be the intelligent use of materials which unites beauty and function. In sculpture, craft might be viewed as a degree of control over materials and spatial relations in order to communicate feeling. In painting, craft might be a well-developed technique of brushwork, an understanding of composition, and control over color and value. Every medium or discipline discusses craft in different ways.

An appreciation for the material or conceptual nature of one’s medium is what builds one’s artistic integrity. This integrity to the process of creation is felt in order to do service to one’s self, the thing being made, and the audience/user/viewer. For most makers, artists, and creative people, this process of creation is more important than the actual thing being created. One’s creative integrity is paramount and drives continual improvement.

Craft also has a historical dimension. Working in a particular medium unites us with an existing process of creation which has developed over time and from generation to generation. Understanding that history of our particular medium helps inform our creative process as well. In this way, craft links us to others who are no longer here, or to others who feel for and care for our chosen medium as we do. Craft is a process which guides the act of making.

Paul Siebenthal, MFA

lead fabricator | modus studio