Evolution in Crafts


Evolution in Crafts: Negotiating the Handmade and the Machine-made

Kaul, Mayank Mansingh

Over the last several years we have seen a significant growth in design experiments internationally, which combine the latest cutting edge technology with traditional hand-processes. As India and other developing countries with evolved hand-craft traditions grapple with more immediate questions of locating a space for them within rapid mechanization, and making available a better quality of life for the craftspeople; the world over, crafts themselves are being redefined through new technologies and individual expressions. This is giving rise to new forms and shapes, aesthetic and textural qualities and at times, to new functional attributes altogether.

For most western and developed countries this has been a natural process. With hand-manufacture having died as a mode and means of everyday production, hand-processes have acquired a considerable niche and novel value. This development has resulted in such products fitting into various segments of production, sale and of consumer use - one, through hand-crafted, high-end products of luxury brands and two, as products of antique and ethnic value. Third - and which I bring under discussion here - is the phenomena of such hand-processes having elevated themselves from such ‘everyday manufacture’ value to being art expressions; often seen as, and engaging with sculpture, painting and other fine arts. These are also often sold through art galleries and agents who are otherwise engaged in art trade. Why such craft-technology has not developed...
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