What do I understand by the term ‘craft’?
I’m writing this before any research or reading of text books or other sources on the subject. I say this now because I want to clear on how my understanding of the term changes following on from research stages. The term ‘Craft’ in my mind is synonymous with terms like; hand-made, skill based, created with care and human effort. I tend not to think of ‘craft’ as being part of a manufactured process. There are certain types or professions or even creative work that in my mind fall into the category of craft; printmaking, painting, sewing, really any practice that requires extensive time, hand based skills. Maybe for this reason I tend to think it applies to older practices rather than new – but that might just be a naive understanding. I tend to also think of small businesses or collectives rather than big companies or organisations, also for the aforementioned reasons.
I think it will be especially interesting to consider craft or the ‘slow’ design movement in more detail, personally because I’d probably consider myself a crafts person. Why do I say that? At the moment I currently have a very small business making cards and prints from illustrations of mine carved in lino or rubber blocks. I consider this a craft because it’s hand based, a skill that takes time to build up, is small, and not produced on a mass scale. Perhaps my perception of what I do and how I want to present my business will change following looking into this subject.
Example of Slow Design/Collaboration: Floor Nijdeken, Crossover Collective.
Floor Nijdeken is a dutch designer, based in the Netherlands his work explores social interaction and the forming of positive bonds or passing on of knowledge through interaction between people through creative mediums.
The Crossover Collective, according to Frame magazine was a ‘tool for creative embroidery’. A wooden frame with benches and a cross stitch fabric base provided space for people to come together and create an embroidered rug or carpet. The ‘machine’ whilst physical became a ‘social machine’ allowing people to foster and build real new connections. It plays on that notion of craft as something handed down through the generations and as very physical, involving collaboration in person rather than just interaction through social media or virtually.
I personally find the idea of it really exciting, but I wonder how well it would work in somewhere like Britain where people tend to be more reserved. Would people be willing to take part? I think this kind of activity could also be really beneficial way of people making connection who struggle to in other social situations, there’s something calming and settling about having something to focus on, particularly something to do with your hands whilst around other people.