The Hand of the Maker
Not so long ago, life was about simple connections; knowing who tailors your dress, who bakes your bread or builds your house. Commercial production lost that connection, but now there’s a movement toward many folks wanting to know where things are from- they want to see the hand of the maker.
Craftsmanship skills are being rediscovered and a belief and desire for the craftsmanship has taken hold. Artisans, designers and artists are able to connect (not just US, but from around the globe) to consumers to make a living via the Internet. Consumers are craving the handmade, culturally relevant products that represent an authentic craft- they want to know the story of how that product was created, as well as the artisans making it.
The process of making and the maker is now very high profile. One favorite website of mine is Project Bly; all handmade products from where the owners travel, currently that is Malaysia, Morocco, Vietnam, etc. They not only show products, but tell the story of the products and show pictures of each city they have visited. For example, there is a picture of a souk in Marrakech, a market in La Paz and street art in Mumbai, in addition to all the objects they purchase for sale.
Craftspeople, such as woodworkers, are now cropping up in the US, particularly in the creative hub of Brooklyn where I live. Craftspeople are so numerous here, there are places like the Brooklyn Navy yards that are entrepreneurial manufacturing centers, City of Industry, etc. which have redefined the rigid categories of production.
The Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) currently has an exhibit I just attended entitled, NYC Makers: MAD Biennale. It “spotlights the creative community thriving in the five boroughs of NYC today showcasing 100 makers-highly inventive artisans, designers and artists.”