We are dealing with a paradox. Craft or the handmade used to be at the centre of commerce and manufacturing and it was a viable, honourable way for people to make a good living. But over the last 100 years as we have industrialised, and now digitalised production. Craft produced have been relegated to the side lines and become an expression of heritage and culture
And so, while heritage, tradition and history is what gives it intrinsic value, this is not enough for it to compete with contemporary lifestyles. Apart from other considerations, economies of scale do not make it viable. It will need to be mainstreamed to survive – but if mainstreaming means we have to become responsive to the demands and fashion of global markets we stand to loose our heritage and tradition…
So where does this leave us? Is the future really handmade? Or are we just being evangelical and fooling ourselves?
Is craft a happy medium for us to hold on to romantic ideas of past lives that were slower, more intimate with more texture and lasting relationships – and which we think had more meaning? Or does it really have a place in the present and the future? And if so, what kind of handmade… and how?