Routine. This word doesn’t normally have a positive meaning. Routine is repetition. We tend to relate it with boredom, saturation, tiredness. Routine is monotony, absence of change, lack of imagination. The idea of routine evokes a typical day of work, the alarm ringing at the usual time, a journey on an overcrowded train, the flavour of the same coffee.
There is though, a very interesting and positive approach towards routine and repetition, the one that we observe in the behaviour of very young children. They like to hear the same story over and over again, take the same road to get to the park, eat the same candy, watch the same cartoon at the same hour, hear the same stories. For them routine means safety, it’s their way of learning, of getting to know the reality. The term “routine” has a French origin from “route”, which means way, path. In a child’s life, repetition marks the steps of the path of his growth.
In the past poets and artists often identified their spirit with the one of a child, able to see the most common things, the little elements of our everyday repetitive life with curious, enthusiastic eyes. For many of the greatest poets and artists these little meaningless details were the first and most important matter of their inspiration. Artisans are similar to children and artists when they create new objects repeating the same old natural processes. Artisanship is the incredible union of naiveté with the highest mastery and awareness of techniques. Routine, patience, reiteration are the means that give concrete life to creative ideas.
Real artisans are always curious and able to see a special value in the most common things which they can transform into something unique and irreplaceable.