The Return to the Craft Movement
Our modern-day lives have become increasingly filled with items and products which are designed to be replaced and are without a story, but things are starting to change and House of Grey are strong advocates of this. Both consumers and makers are making a concerted effort to return to the ‘slow’; unique, hand-crafted items which are built to last. Choosing to move towards the handmade has many positive effects, increased sustainability, longevity of objects and the preservation of traditions being just a few.
Crafting items allows makers to be conscious in their development of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable pieces. By producing smaller batches of products practitioners can take an active ethical stance on the production of their work, pay attention to low impact materials and production methods and ensure the quality of their products. Why is this so important? The owner will want to cherish the product rather than replacing it in a few years.
The return to the crafted, also plays an integral part in the wellness movement - for both maker and owner.
For the maker, many practices such as pottery, weaving and knitting are all repetitive actions, which the famous psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's has stated, allow us to enter into our ‘flow’ state, where we experience our deepest engagement with life. Furthermore, the positive benefits of craft practices have long been seen in occupational therapy, where they are used as a way to help rehabilitate mental health patients.
Similarly, there’s something deeply satisfying in owning a tactile item, of which no two are the same. More and more we have a need to touch and feel objects as a conscious move from the digital screen.
Hand-made items also often mean the preservation of cultures and traditions which are at risk of being lost. Basket weavers, carpenters, potters and so many more creatives are central to different cultures around the world - and by maintaining these crafts we will maintain our history.
New prizes such as the Loewe Craft Prize and the Woman's Hour Craft Prize are helping to reinvest in the future of the handmade and shine a light on some of the most skilled craftspeople across the world.
Here are three that have recently caught our team’s eye:
Simple materials are used to create powerful pieces by Tokyo based ‘straw artist’ ARKO. The idea is to combine natural materials with age-old techniques with the hope of re-inserting fading customs back into modern life.
Designer-maker Peter Marigold, has developed an understanding and appreciation of Japanese craft. Hinoki Kogei is Japan's leading woodwork factory, founded in 1977 by Chuzo Tozawa. Marigold was so inspired by the artisanal approach to woodworking he saw there that he sought to incorporate a woodwork technique that has been used since ancient times. This is an example of a partnership to showcase materials and traditional woodworking craft in a respectful and elegant way.