Artisan Enterprises and Global Markets

Craftspersons/ Artisanal, Education/Learning, Entrepreneurship, Business Devt., Markets, Marketing, Trade

Artisan Enterprises and Global Markets: Transformative Education along the North-South Economic Divide

Jongeward, Carolyn

What is the importance of handmade craft today? Perhaps a more appropriate question is: In what contexts do handmade craft have value today? For whom is this valuable and why? What are the obstacles and how can the significance of handmade craft be increased? What learning takes place by different parties in the process of increasing the visibility and viability of craftwork in the world today? I have been a weaver for many years and I have studied textile traditions – particularly woven designs and their meanings – to be found in cultures from many regions of the world, traditions that go back millennia. As an adult educator, I became interested in finding out how artisans – particularly weavers - had changed their perspective on craftwork, given the realities and conditions of their lives, which have been impacted by industrialization, mass production, and commercialization. First I traveled to India and later to Thailand to learn about different kinds of community-based organizations that aim to benefit weavers, their families and communities. In no uncertain terms I learned that new meanings associated with weaving are linked to economic survival. One of the key findings of earlier research was the importance of supporting artisans with product development initiatives in order for them to adapt their traditional craft skills and aesthetics into marketable products. As a result, I am currently investigating product design interventions in artisan production. What are the issues and challenges of product development? Who learns what and how? I am interviewing Nor...
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