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  • Anne, Gareth Neal, 2008. Crafts Council Collection: W162. Photo: Todd-White Art Photography

Speakers’ Corner: The Future of Craft

We pose some questions to our Make:Shift 2014 speakers...

How can we retain the essence of craft as we work with new materials and technologies?

Gareth Neal: Traditional hand processes are all about touch and feel, and live on the other end of the spectrum to digital technologies. You can never fully remove the hand from the equation, because even digital tools have human-like quirks; ultimately they’ve been programmed by human beings. But there is a spirit that is embedded in a hand-crafted object that you can’t replicate with a machine. I think it’s about careful juxtaposition of the two.

Ana Thompson: To retain the essence of craft it is necessary to input new skills, new media and new technology into making and experimentation to find new applications for craft processes between the digital world and the real world.

What unique place can craft carve out for itself in the 21st century?

Gerard Briscoe: As the objects in society increase, craft has the opportunity to help define the value of these objects, whether they are co-designed, 3D printed or bespoke creations.

Gina Czarnecki: Craft, or the skill of making things, will always be necessary. Now that we can 3D scan and easily and cheaply ‘print’ reproductions of so much, it could liberate craft in the same way that photography liberated painting from representing the real. With a combined approach between old techniques and new technologies, traditional and new materials including the biological/robotics/electronics/code it will enable "craft" to play more prominently in the intersection between art, design, engineering and bio-engineering, in a blurred space between what is human/machine made.

Lucy Di Silvio: The craft sector can significantly impact medical research in various areas. For example, textiles, in particular natural materials and more sophisticated manufacturing technologies can create materials, patterns, designs that can influence cellular behaviour and result in possible regeneration of tissues and organs.

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