Re-Thinking Scale

Entrepreneurship, Business Devt., Markets, Marketing, Trade, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Re-Thinking Scale: Craft Traditions in the Contemporary Market

Frater, Judy

Two important marks of luxury are customization and hand-work. Paradoxically, craft is often valued as inexpensive. How do we bridge this gap so that the artisan benefits, so that we can insure that quality hand work will continue? What is the most ethical way to engage artisans in luxury work? When I originally made this presentation, it was as a keynote address for the International Textile and Apparel Association.  At that time, I was asked to consider the role of textile artisan work in the fast-emerging “creative economy.” I had to think on that. Traditional craft in the contemporary world is an evolving relationship.  Society evolves, the market evolves-- at an ever faster pace.  Artisans try to keep up their own evolution, with integrity. There is an inherent challenge, however, because craft is NOT fast. The stage at which we have arrived, which is just that: considering traditional craft in the context of the creative economy, is the most challenging yet.  I do not yet have solutions, but I am working on defining the points we have to address… To me, the key point is Value.  While we celebrate the unique, how do we insure that we also value it? There is a range of craft practiced today, from traditional to professional/ commercial.  I am focusing on traditional crafts, those that are an integral part of culture, and express identity and cultural heritage, and those that are designed as well as made by the artisan.   I believe that we need to address traditional craft to keep genuinely valuable hand work not only alive but...
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