Practical Artisans


This website is the project of Karen Monson, based in Tasmania.

Many times in my life I have been told, ‘but you have to be realistic’. These words were relative to the human constructed world seen as ‘reality’ and not to the physical and objective reality of living on a finite planet. We’re inhabitants of a complex planet that is finite, has physical limits, operates under cause and effect and via the energetic realities known as the Laws of Thermodynamics – but you certainly wouldn’t know that by the human affairs, daily actions and human narratives about ‘normality’ and life. Entropy is reality, and regardless of human belief and hope for a ‘reality’ wanted to be, the unconscious denial of entropy is now catching up with us through the impacts of human created planetary overshoot and climate change. For this nuanced and blatant violence we are all a part.

In the two years since I began Practical Artisans I have see sawed between how to survive financially in the ways of the human world’s ‘reality’ and what a micro business/meagre income amid actual reality and our current challenges might be like. I have seen my makings as very pragmatic and therefore a useful item in both a financial and a barter economy. I have bought a LOT of yarn, as I’ve tried to work out my thoughts about yarn, energy and environment, with what might sell monetarily. The very apparent requirement to ‘market’ emotionally to ‘consumers’, something I’ve excelled at in my past, is something I have no wish to participate in any longer – such manipulation of fears, insecurities, and identities for monetary or other gain, is the antithesis of human beings working together in a meaningless universe on a beautiful finite planet for life’s health and longevity.

The voluntary degrowth economy is the realistic context by which I would like to operate this microbusiness and life project of mine. This, however is an impossibility when culturally determined ‘consumers’ exist, rather than unique human beings thinking deeply and critically about complex reality, for themselves, and working and living with that at its basis. It is therefore probable that the necessary and likely degrowth economy will be involuntary and not very pleasant for a populace conditioned to decades of surplus energy and ‘normal’ material prosperity.

Radical warmth I use, not as any ‘revolutionary’ ideology, but because I value getting to the root of issues, problems, etc and embracing what is real, whether it disturbs my own or others learned sensitivities or not. James Baldwin wrote “People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.” There are very few innocents now in western contemporary consumer society; we know what we do, and most continue it anyway. I don’t believe in ‘monsters’ but I do see a fearful and irrational animal, culturally determined to prefer make believe, poetic narratives and myths causing immense irreparable harm and destruction to life itself and a human future. Whilst I respect that some may find a toleration in themselves for this, for my own life amid remarkable life, I do not.

This website is an evolving detournment, a challenge to the symbols, narratives and manipulations that are part and parcel of every day human existence; at the cost of too much. It is an exploration of the aforementioned realities – Cause and Effect, Laws of Thermodynamics, the finite nature of this planet and the human psychologies within this planet’s dominant mammal, us, that have us where we are. Writings from the beautiful, unique and critical mind of my companion and friend Andy (Ensemble Solitaire), also feature. For Andy’s companionship, care and support in this life of mine, I am fortunate beyond measure.