The exact nature of craft is very difficult to define.However, I see craft as a practice which both generates and relies uponknowledge of certain materials and a detailed understanding of how they work.Craftspeople who are truly passionate about their chosen medium will know boththe limitations and the possibilities of their materials, and will have theskill derived from experience to create objects of a high standard. Craft as apractice is very physical. Indeed, it creates ‘muscle memory over time; thenatural rhythm of the movement between hand and object becomes second natureand an almost unconscious part of the making process. To me craft is more aboutthe process of getting from A to B, and the acquisition of skills throughhands-on experience with materials. I also see contemporary craft as arefreshing change from the digitalised world we live in and believe that it canbe a source of rebellion against mass production and standardisation. By itsvery nature, craft promotes individuality, thus appealing to the many peoplewho strive for distinctiveness in a consumerist society with an economyunderpinned by standardisation.
This project is concerned with craft and how it is viewedand used in contemporary art and design and society as a whole. Craft as aprofession and tool has evolved in aesthetics and concept hugely since the turnof the Industrial Revolution, which is the period from where the Arts andCrafts Movement really took off as a revolt to the mass production andstandardisation of products. Social and economic issues have proved to have ahuge impact on the reasons behind crafts constant evolution, and it could besaid that crafted objects relate to us as humans, as our world changes to anever more digitalised place we feel the need for handmade, crafted objects; tobe able to feel something instead of simply seeing a large number of pixelsgrouped together.
The reason for carrying out this project is that I havebeen using craft as a basis for almost all of my design work for the past twoyears of my Graphic Communication course and feel that it is an underrateddesign path, and one which needs to be brought more heavily in to the publiceye. Craft is a universal method of creating; anyone can get involved, whichmakes it such a good tool for people to express themselves and get theirmessage across. It is the professional minds however which apply contexts aboutsociety and other issues that can change the way the public think about theirday-to-day lives.
I aim to promote craft to a wider audience and prove thatit is a promising design tool and path for the future within all visual fields.To do so I will be producing two key outcomes, one being a series of threestitched letters created from different patterns, but which are all linked withthe colours used. I will create the first three letters of the alphabet, ‘a’,‘b’ and ‘c’. The second outcome will be a publication on craft and its role inmodern society. This book will comprise of three separate sections, one anessay on the topic, two, a look at designer-crafters in the market today, andthe final section will be showcasing my work, illustrating how I merge moderntechnology with craft techniques and materials. I am part of the growing numberof designers who have adopted craft as a communicating tool, and who mixesdifferent media and ideas to create a new hybrid form of design-craft.
My audience is not restricted to anyone in particular butis more inclusive than restrictive. Just like how craft is accessible to all,this project and the message and values which I will be portraying can beenjoyed and understood by all. An establishment who may be interested in thisproject is the Craft’s Council, who promote new and exciting uses for craft, encouragingcreative minds to get involved in this very natural form of making things tocommunicate. Similarly the Arts Council, and Design Council may find this ofsome interest as craft is becoming merged with a vast number of differentvisual fields.