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Making is Connecting

Introduction and Justification

Artists, Designers, Hackers, we must to return to the crafts! By reflecting upon the origins of the Arts & Crafts movement to today's DIY movement facilitated by networked culture, it is clear to that the philosophies of craft go further than a handcrafted 'thing'. Craft is personal. Craft is social. Craft is political. In this quarter you will explore the urgency of craft, the reaction against and embracement of machine production, the tension between conservatism and innovation, and the popularisation of DIY as a social, political and economic practise. Making is Connecting is the Q7 theme. Making is Connecting deals with: establishing historical and contemporary discourses of craft; studio visits of professional practitioners, hands-on exploration of traditional craft practices (through newer tools and technologies); the development of a personal statement through the production of a tangible artifact; And the formation of a community of artists and designers as digital craftsman.

The purpose of this quarter is for you to orientate yourself within the thematic of the Digital Craft programme as a whole. You will develop valuable skills and conceptual tools for you to make as well as frame your work. Making is Connecting deepens the general introductions given in the electives. The quarter provides time to master chosen fabrication technology and bridges an essential link towards Q8 – The Expanded Toolbox – where more dynamic and complex tools and media will be introduced.

Content Summery and Methods

Making is Connecting is comprised of two main components: Research and Studio Practice. Each component provides a different entry to the understanding and potential of craft practises in times of electronic, digital and networked media. Each week you are required to read, reflect, make and discuss (each week a theoretical text is assigned and discussed, and each week you are expected to experiment in the workshop!). Aside from in-class hours, you are also required to plan and carry though your own independent study by sourcing your own relevant reading material, further your making skills connect to communities, workshops, exhibitions or excursions.

The following is a summery of each component of the course:


In Making is Connecting Research you will focus on making connections between historical and contemporary discourses and your own position towards craft. You will look back to the medieval craft guilds and the call of their revival through the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, as well as explore contemporary and cross-cultural manifestations and debates within craft. You will examine the explicit, nuanced, and sometimes contradicting stances on technology and machine production throughout from Arts and Crafts to the Bauhaus movements. You look at the more recent democratisation of knowledge and tools through online and offline communities – such as FabLabs and Makerspaces. You will explore and position contemporary concepts craft in DIY, hacking, and haute couture. The first four weeks you will explore and discuss these various perspectives through key texts. In the last four weeks you will reflect upon your own motives for making in the in the final assignment "Why I Make" through a written reflection, statement, or manifesto that is also richly embedded in a personal crafted artefact.

The goal of the research component of digital craft is to ground your production as part of a wider debate, to support your formation of sound concepts, and to facilitate the translation of your concepts as tools to apply back into practice.

Studio Practice

In Making is Connecting Studio Practice you will explore existing craft practices while applying new techniques, experimental approaches, and pushing the limits of your tools and media. You will be given carving, printing, fusing, or wrapping as a technique and departure point.

In carving, you will make woodcuts, engravings, sculptures and moulds by exploring subtractive fabrication technologies and mastering the CNC milling machine. In printing and drawing you will survey traditional printing methods, invent your own printing and drawing tools, explore with reactive media (conductive/sensitive inks) and animation techniques. In fusing you will deepen your knowledge different additive fabrication and 3d printing technologies, their different materials and bonding processes, and search for the craft in an industry that markets itself as fast and cheap. In wrapping you will produce samples of machine embroidery and knitting, research small-scale textile production and tinker with electronic textile techniques. Your first four weeks will comprise of deepening your knowledge and exploring possibilities within your given craft practise and producing a total of 5 samples to be published on the wiki and presented as part of your assessment. The five examples must connect with the following list. 1-4 will be carried out independently, while number 5 (shared example) will be carries out as a group.



  • Full documentation of process, including theory (notes on given texts) as well as practice-based research (experimentation/project process and research on technologies) on personal wiki page
  • A 1000 word text titled "why I make" (uploaded on wiki page)

Studio Practice

5 critical and well crafted examples within a given "making technique"

  • A historical example -experiment with an traditional/older technique/tool/process, as well as research its origins and impact it has had.
  • A comparative example-within one experimental example, compare a range of techniques/tools/ or materials.
  • An example of a new skill-try out something you have never done before and identify your position on a learning curve.
  • An example of a material pushed to the limit-choose a tool and material and search for its potential — try to find the boundaries of the possible.
  • A shared example - a co-produced and co designed artefact with your classmates.

A final tangible and communicative artefact that is representative of your own statement on making.


  • A (group)exhibition displaying produced works
  • A one-sentence poster on the crux of your statement
  • An oral presentation of your work and process

Learning goals

  1. The student has established a contextual connection between historical and contemporary craft, and their own position as a creative practitioner. (Competency 1, 2 and 3)
  2. The student can properly document your work – not only for communication purposes, but also for knowledge sharing and reproduction (research/experiment documentation, technical manuals and blueprints. (Competency 4 and 5)
  3. The student is well ‘practiced’ user/innovator in a digital fabrication/material technology – understanding the origins of the tool, the hardware/software, best practices and its potential/limitations. (Competency 5 and 6)
  4. The student can leverage knowledge/skills as a team, while maintaining an independent and personal process/trajectory. (Competency 7)

Assessment criteria

  1. The student has shown profound knowledge of their given craft/making process (both a historical and contemporary context).
  2. The student has demonstrated a rigorous approach to experimentation, which has been reflected upon and framed in a coherent manner.
  3. The student has defined a clear and critical statement, which explicitly connects taught theory with his or her design/artistic/craft practice.
  4. The student has conceptualised and executed a high quality personal work that appropriately embodies his or her statement.
  5. The student has consistent attendance and has actively participated and discussions, feedback and workshop sessions.
  6. The student has effectively documented and communicated their process/results through use of the course wiki.

Daily Planning



from dawn till dusk





Date Location Content
February 2th Interaction Station Intro / wiki / Making is Connecting / choosing making technique

Reading for following week: invention of craft / revival of Handicraft Brainstorm Assignment: History of (this kind of) making

February 7th Independently in your group History of (this kind of) making presentation
February 9th Interaction Station Round table discussion: the invention of Craft

Presentations: History of (this kind of) making Reading for following week: thinking through craft

February 14th In the studio/workshops Historical Example
February 16th Interaction Station thinking through craft

In class reading: Bauhaus Manifesto

  1. What is the central point to Bauhaus Manifesto of 1919
  2. Examine the significance of the illustration produced for this proclamation.
  3. Draw parallels between Gropius’s text and the ideals of Ruskin, Morris, Marx….
  4. What is the concept of the term gesamtkunstwerk?
  5. Was the Bauhaus aim to reunify art through craft or to bring art into industry?
  6. How did the Bauhaus endorse and extend craft?
  7. How did the Bauhaus become antithetical to craft?
  8. What was the Bauhaus influence to art and design education today?
  9. Discuss the significance of Marcel Breuer.
  10. Discuss the significance of Gunta Stölzl & Anni Albers.

Reading for following week: Acceptera Brainstorm Assignment: Comparing techniques & shared example

February 21st In the studio/workshops Shared Example
February 23rd In the studio/workshops Shared Example
March 7th In the studio/workshops comparative Example
March 9th Interaction Station recap on Craft and Industry

Round table: Problematising Maker Culture Written assignment: 5 sentence statement - Why I Make

March 14th In the studio/workshops new skill
March 16th Interaction Station one-on-one mentoring / defining you statement

Reading for following week: Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

March 21st In the studio/workshops pushing your material to the limit
March 23rd Interaction Station one-on-one mentoring /designing your artefact
March 28th In the studio/workshops materialising statment
March 30th Blaak Basement (10-16) Why I Make Mini Exhibition

Reading Material

  • February 2nd

Making is Connecting: The social meaning of creativity, from DIY and knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0' (David Gauntlett)

  1. Meaning of Making I: Philosophies of Craft
  2. The Meaning of Making II: Craft today
  • February 9th
  1. The Invention of Craft (Glenn Adamson)
  2. Thinking Through Craft (Glenn Adamson)
  • February 16th
  1. The Revival of Handicraft (William Morris)
  2. Bauhaus Manifesto (Walter Gropius)
  3. Acceptura (Gunnar Asplund, Wolter Gahn, Sven Markelius, Eskil Sundahl, and Uno Åhrén)
  • March 9th
  1. Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand (Malcolm􏰀 McCullough)
  2. The Maker's Bill of Rights
  3. Why I am not a Maker (Debbie Chachra)

*What is the function of your wiki?

The wiki is an ongoing document, throughout the whole Quarter, that will be presented and/or discussed at different stages of the process. It will be the result of research, concept development, tests, experimentation, workshops...

The content should be visual (collected images, mapping ideas etc, animations, interactive experiments, your own sketches), textual (collecting articles, quotes, creating keywords, adding links and references) and material (documentation of the tests and experiments from your own project, your first models, prototypes etc.).

In all cases, make sure you add your own descriptions and explanations, giving insight into your thoughts regarding both ideas, knowledge, skills and execution.

The goal of the wiki is manifold:

  1. a place to keep track of your process
  2. to offer a thinking framework within which to develop your projects both individually and collectively
  3. to be a resource that aids you in your concept development, design, planning and realization.
  4. to offer a context that enables you to collect and organize the research and design process both individually and collectively.
  5. it's a tool that helps to communicate about your project to others, at different moments throughout the process, about concept; decisions; planning (plan van aanpak) and final outcome.
  6. to be a source of your own material and content from which you can select and and which you can reorganize for specific presentations.