Progressive Craft - The Trend for Redefining Craftsmanship
Take a look around you.
The chances are, you are in possession of an item that has been crafted, an item that has been crafted by generations of knowledge, hours of experience and expertly chosen ingredients.
Whether that results in a perfectly baked loaf of bread, a perfectly sanded stool, a perfectly tailored jacket or a perfectly composed piece of music, each of these things are products of pride, love and time.
In an increasingly digital world where time is a precious commodity we crave customised quality and not just out of nostalgia for the pre-industrial. We want to learn from our predecessors by studying their processes, tools and materials and applying that knowledge to the problems we face today.
In our material trend story Progressive Craft we look at how artists, designers, researchers, scientists and technologists are redefining craftsmanship to better serve us today.
1 // The New Age of Trichology
In our opening chapter we look to the work of material researcher, designer and maker Sanne Visser, who explores the potential of human hair as a raw material in her project The New Age of Trichology.
Visser employs a low tech approach to problem solving in her investigations of hair, looking to crafts like spinning, weaving and rope making to create a closed loop system that results in functional utilitarian products.
The New Age of Trichology is a good example of progressing craft as it uses tried and tested craft processes that speak to modern day dilemnas like how to reduce waste and pressure on other non-renewable materials, for example.
2 // Thatched
Our interest in traditional craft materials is revitalised and we are drawn to materials like straw and reeds. Once prized for their strength, insulation and waterproof qualities they represent shelter and protection.
In Japanese culture the Mino (shown above) was traditionally used as a rain coat. We absorb cultural learnings like this and apply them in decorative or practical ways for today.
3 // The Craft Laboratory
The Cobbler gets a revolutionary new leather to work with as creative science investigates the power of materials that are rapidly grown from Mycelium and agricultural byproducts.
On the left we show alternative leather from San Francisco start up Myco Works, a research team dedicated to redefining leather through mycelium for a sustainable and animal free material.
In the future the cobblers workshop will sit side by side with the scientists laboratory.
4 // Haptic Craft
Haptic textures and technologies will become more important in material futures as we look to emulate the natural world through the sensation of touch for an immersive and calming experience.
Artist Alexandra Kehayoglou's textile artworks make use of leftover threads from her families carpet factory to make raw textile worlds that feel soothing on our overworked senses.
5// Mass Customization
3D printing technologies and joinery craft techniques like Kumiko inspire us to interlink design elements, disciplines and materials. We look for crafted products that tell a personal story and allow an element of mix and match.
Additionally 3D printing technologies provoke a new age cottage industry as designers like Danit Peleg enable us to design, download and print our own creations at home.
6// Mastering the Mindful
As the movement for mindfulness continues we see crafts elevated through mindfulness practices not only during the make process but in the end use aswel.
Californian based woodwork artist Aleksandra Zee takes a mindful approach to her work, journalling her inspiration and finding colour palettes in nature which in turn injects alot of emotion into her work.
The Ritual ceramic cup by artist Andrea Roman uses a minimal glaze in order to enhance the raw texture of the clay and aims to inspire us to 'start each morning clear of mind, with an acceptance for what the day holds'.
Redefining craftsmanship in the digital age is opening up our idea of what 'craft' really means. It is not solely about what the hands can do anymore but what they can do with our increased intellectual investment in science, technology and machinery.
We have never had more access to information and less time to apply our learnings practically and so the trend to redefine craftsmanship gathers pace.
We conclude our trend story with a quote from Sociologist Richard Sennett, author of The Craftsman.
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