I specifically avoided Origin, The Craft Council’s annual event this year. The flagship UK Craft event left me feeling a bit cold last time I went in 2006. I thought it was a tad too upmarket and whilst there was a lot of great work on display it felt a bit like a gallery or actually a museum. It felt dead. Not a lot of ‘disruption’ going on. And in this way I believe Origin mimics the notion of Craft by the powers that be at the Crafts Council in the UK. To them Craft is undertaken by a privileged artistic few and the arbiters of quality are the gallery curators. It feels like a rather stuffy ‘club’. I can understand why it is so. Before the internet power and decision making was often confereed to the few. It wasn’t well distributed. But now we have the internet we’ve got the ability to ‘filter’. If flickr can enable amateur photographers to compete with professionals (and many photographs, actually ‘snapshots’, taken by the unwashed have been used for commercial purposes from flickr) and at the same time encourage the take up of the practice and craft of phtography then surely the same can be true of Craft, of making nice ‘things’. Etsy has done a great job to encourage craft, particularly in the US, and I’m hoping that we can cause a bit of disruption here too.
So, rant over, I’d like to ask you what you think of when you think of ‘Craft’? This is partly in response to this question “The word craft is misused, misunderstood and misplaced. It is used in ways that diminish its credibility” which I came across on the forum of the Craft Scotland site.
NB: for a good overview of the neat stuff at Origin see treehugger’s coverage.