This article explores a different strategic role for the crafts in relation to contemporary industry, together with an analysis of potential benefits considered in two ways: first, as a pervasive craft influence to stimulate new design thinking, markets and values, within appropriate industrial contexts; and second, as a series of hands-on, craft interventions that directly affect the quality, aesthetics and role of products. The article examines the current and potential position of the crafts relative to art, design, industry and consumer culture, through a series of related schematic models. These trace the relationship of craft to practice, thinking and influence, and identify the related demands on the craftsperson in the move from a personal paradigm of making to the broader paradigm of production. It is argued that contemporary crafts should contribute to the production of socially directed goods of long-term value to a wider society than the current craft market niche.
Bibliographical noteAuthor's note: potential and actual significance of the research:
Contributes to the ongoing debate and practical applications across craft and craft-related industry, the content has been additionally disseminated in various forms including: international conference keynotes, academic papers and a professional journal (Canada).
The work has already been cited in a number of publications, and at least one PhD thesis
significance of work to advance knowledge, skills, understanding and scholarship in theory, practice, education, management and/or policy: -
The starting point for rethinking craft as the basis for the above was as part of an invited keynote: Martin Woolley, 2008. Craft as a Renewing Force of Culture. In Craft Research - Knowledge Through Making. International Conference, University of Helsinki.
The paper addresses the transferability of skills and knowledge from a traditional craft base into contemporary industry and beyond, with particular emphasis on luxury goods, including automotive and fashion design. It contributes to an understanding of the novel ways in which unique craft skills can be integrated into advanced manufacturing.The Craft Research Journal is the only formal journal which addresses both theoretical and practice-based research in relation to the crafts. Its readership and influence are therefore broader than the normal academic range, additionally embracing practitioners and industry, a factor which is also reflected in its range of authors.