Finding our Sliver
First, love that Picasso bull panel! I'd not seen it before. All kinds of good uses I can imagine putting that to :)
Something about your post and/or the mood I read it in made me think of some great words from Tolkien as picked up by Steve Blank: "Not all who wander are lost." I feel as though some substantial part of my career I have been made to feel like I ought to apologize for being a wanderer, when it is precisely my wandering that makes my valuable.
Another thought from this week's wanderings comes from a chance encounter with Nick Cave who was asked what he thought about some lyrics spit out by ChatGPT "in the style of Nick Cave." Let's say, for openers, that Nick was not impressed. Read for yourself here https://www.theredhandfiles.com/chat-gpt-what-do-you-think/
As you suggest, the problem with mass production is not that it doesn't work, it's just not suited for everything. Likewise, people who think that ChatGPT came into existence to be a songwriter are probably barking up the wrong tree.
To the thought that craft is rebellion...I have great sympathy for this thought with the caveat that the object of rebellion is not always overthrow. Craft makes room for, keeps a place for, insists on the value of things "made by hand," things that bear the mark of their makers.
Having been in this space you describe for over a quarter century, the most unrelenting question is that of monetization. The solution is often a range of choices related to lifestyle, whether your art is your principal work or a side gig, and what does retirement look like. Part of the solution is building community in the communities where we live, where we support our neighbor’s artisan work.