From this Guardian article, published around the release of The Craftsman (and because there were too many quotations to put in a Pinboard link):

…the ideal of fit-for-purpose can work against experiment in developing a tool or a skill; it should properly be seen as an achievement, a result. To arrive at that goal, the craftsman at work has instead to dwell in waste, following up dead ends. In technology, as in art, the probing craftsman does more than encounter problems; he or she creates them in order to know them. Improving one’s technique is never a routine, mechanical process.

To work is to develop one’s skill, if you like; “dwelling in waste” is part of the process of the craftsman.

Three abilities are the foundation of craftsmanship: to localise, to question and to open up. The first involves making a matter concrete; the second, reflecting on its qualities; the third, expanding its sense. The carpenter establishes the peculiar grain of a single piece of wood, looking for detail; turns the wood over and over, pondering how the pattern on the surface might reflect the structure hidden underneath; decides that the grain can be brought out if he or she uses a metal solvent rather than standard wood varnish.

Which all seemed very relevant, given Technology as a Material.

  • "Oregon Trail pioneering is basically the story of trying to get 500 pounds of jarred bison over the border before succumbing to necrotising poison from eating the wrong kind of strawberry. It’s the story of dying at Chimney Rock with bits of Conestoga wheels lodged in your skull. When you look into the Trail, the Trail looks back into you."
  • "If you were to rise before dawn on Christmas Eve, and walk down the empty Hackney Rd past the dark shopfronts in the early morning, you would very likely see a mysterious glow emanating from the workshop at the rear of number forty-five where spindles for staircases are made. If you were to stop and press your face against the glass, peering further into the depths of the gloom, you would see a shower of wood chips flying magically into the air, illuminated by a single light, and falling like snow into the shadowy interior of the workshop where wood turner Maurice Franklin, who was born upstairs above the shop in 1920, has been working at his lathe since 1933 when he began his apprenticeship."