ar·ti·san (ärt′ə zən, -sən)
a worker in a skilled trade; craftsman
Etymology: Fr < It artigiano; ult. < L ars,
It may be only children and pedants who believe that once a word is
codified coded into a more than one dictionary its meaning becomes fixed and immutable. But nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the word fuck (Click the link, you'll split a gut. I promise!) which can mean virtually anything depending upon the context in which it occurs.
The word artisan, which in its nominative form indicates a person who is skilled in a trade and works largely with his hands and hand tools, can actually refer to someone with only enough skill to operate a dough mixer or cut and slash a loaf of bread in exactly the same way ten thousand times a day. Although, as some sources indicate, there is an assumption of variability in expression or uniqueness associated with each product made by an artisan, this notion while charming, appears not to be true of some of the products available to contemporary consumers of artisanal products.
For example, this loaf of artisan bread purchased at the local supermarket, looked just like all the other loaves of the same type ("French"). It was the same color, and shaped and slashed in precisely the same way. In fact, if the label did not indicate that it was hand made by an artisan, one would swear that it was the product of some form of automated baking process.