A Holy Tradition of Working

A Holy Tradition of Working, a compilation of writings by the sculptor, artist, and thinker Eric Gill, is one of those books I keep coming back to. Gill, most famous for his design of the Gill Sans typeface (the lettering used on the London Underground), was (among other artistic achievements) a successful sculptor who, after a long intellectual quest, converted to Catholicism as an adult; his thinking was much influenced by Catholic views on art and labor, and Tradition collects his insights, scattered throughout his writings, on these subjects.

What attracts me most is the introduction’s fine summary of dissenting thought on industrialism, stretching back to Blake and Carlyle, and Gill’s plain, acerbic style. Though he can sound a bit like a schoolmaster, there is no denying that accounting a society’s worth only by its material production leaves out something profound. I agree with his claim that only when people are fully committed to their work, both intellectually and emotionally, are they capable of producing superior results. In this regard, I think of the quality of William Morris’s textiles (and not just their gorgeous patterns), workmanship that must have originated at least partly in their weavers’ delight in producing something genuinely beautiful. Where the heart is at home, the hand will follow…

We must all seek out and find that work which is most meaningful and satisfying to us.    RT


Photo: The North Wind by Eric Gill; WikiCmns; CC 2.0 Generic; Photographer: Andrew Dunn.

  1. December 22, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Mr. Gill was a wise man when he wrote “only when people are fully committed to their work, both intellectually and emotionally, are they capable of producing superior results.” Yet we live in I a sea of mediocracy with few people fully invested in pursuing their passions aside from food to the point of gluttony and excess beyond reason. With schools turning out fewer critical thinkers and scholors, one can only fear for our future. Although there is huge divide between those that have those that have not in the U.S. people, regardless of circumstance, still pursue excess. Me, myself, I am — unemployed but still working 70 hours a week trying to create a pathyway to income while serving the greater good. I resent those with paying jobs who do little to change the status quo as I see them literally grabbing more of the world’s resources. People will let an unemployed person with no means work 70 hours a week, writing grants to fund community or other projects in anticipation of basking in the success to come, meanwhile, not lifting so much as a finger to help. The gall…. the very gall. Scott Peck, MD wrote People of the Lie and to this day his surmising conclusions still ring true about the nature of evil. Superior results come from hard working people who practice love without, if required, regard for their own welfare and safety. Love = commitment to the bitter end. These are my thoughts. Thank you for sharing!

  2. December 23, 2011 at 4:47 am

    thanks for your thoughtful comment, renee, and good to hear from you… RT

  3. April 10, 2014 at 2:57 am

    best known for his design of the Gill Sans typeface, and the value it can bring. We found and it has been noted, everything is great.

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