Updated: Apr 25, 2022
For artists and crafters who dedicate their time to understanding what's at the heart of themselves through their medium of choice, craft and handmade work becomes a process of slowing everything down in order to notice something deeper. We explore human experience through our hands and imagination — through hours and years of practice, putting human before machine — through this process elevating the spiritual well-being of ourselves and you, the consumer.
I used to spend the majority of my days working on a computer. For over 30 years I worked as a self-employed graphic designer but I started back in the late 70s, before the advent of the computer, working at a drafting table with galleys of text, paste up, wax and stat machines, solving creative problems through my imagination and depth of experience, and spending time with printers pouring over the fine craft of offset printing.
"The craftsperson was a self-employed individual who sought fulfillment from within by creating precious objects that could only come from one person's rarefied skills and singular aesthetic vision. The craft object expanded beyond the traditional sphere of the decorative arts to encompass related work that could be conceptual or sculptural in intent, although still fabricated from traditional materials and techniques. In our 21st century, craft has taken on a new life as a counter-virtual ideology, a counterweight to the insipidness of lives spent looking at screens and tapping on keyboards."
—Peter Korn, director, Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, Maine
When the computer hit the scene in the mid 80s, admittedly it was an exciting time and made it possible for me to be more independent as a designer. Suddenly I could charge money for many high-end tasks that I used to have to outsource to highly trained people, like typesetting and photo retouching. I rode that technology wave throughout the 80s and 90s and it was a great and lucrative ride! But eventually, highly trained graphic designers, like me, were replaced, too. With apps like Canva and many others, at the quick touch of a hand-held device, everyone is now a designer of sorts, supported by computer algorithms and templates to solve creative problems.
"Craft is applied creativity. It's the process of turning the spark of an idea into something tangible and beautiful using your own hands, skills, aesthetic, and vision. It could be a poem, a bowl, a pair of shoes, a plate of food, a sculpture, a building, a song."
—Susannah Daly, founder and creative director, Renegade Craft Fairs
But in that process, something important got lost. We traded imagination, training and design expertise for the ready-made visual solutions that the computer provides. These computer-aided designs look "OK" but there's a slick, computer-generated veneer that tends to a look like everything else we see in our ready-made, fast-paced visual world.
"Craft is the universal language of the hand, a language that needs no words. It is a language steeped in the power of personal creativity and expression."
—Ivan Barnett, artist; director, Patina Gallery, Santa Fe
In a world where so much of what we buy is mass produced, craft plays an extremely valuable and essential role in keeping us connected to ourselves and to each other.
Where would we be without handmade art and craft?
Thank you for your continued support!