User:MarjoleinStassen/Chapter 3

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Chapter 3 Craft Today

Craft can seem like a timeless practice, rooted in ancient and traditional ways of engaging with the world and building communities. The word 'craft' is relatively new. Paul Greenhalgh, former head of V&A Museum, uses the rather arbitrary gathering of ideas and orientations under the notion of craft to set out its different constituent dimensions. He describes them as decorative art, the vernacular and the politics of work. The first of these, decorative art, is a broad term which which have in common the bruised, second-class feeling of being excluded from the category of ‘fine art’. The second element, the vernacular, refers to the authentic, natural voice of a community, unselfconsciously communicated through everyday things that people have made. In the third element, the politics of work, the actual crafted objects become secondary to the broader ideals about the conditions in which they are made.seems to encompass all the ‘applied’ forms of creativity.

It was the combination of these three threads that led to the Arts and Crafts movement. This loose grouping of idealistic thinkers and craftspeople built on the ideas of Ruskin and Morris in different ways, but central to the movement was the idea that all creative work was of equal status, and was the means by which human beings could connect with nature, with their own sense of self, and with other people. Today, the mainstream notion of ‘DIY’ is associated with everyday home improvement. The central idea at the heart of all DIY methods is a rejection of the idea that you overcome problems by paying somebody else to provide a solution. The DIY ethos, and a passion for craft, are not just about isolated projects, but spill over into everyday life more generally. Suggesting that people can make, fix, and repair things for themselves has much in common with sustainability and environmentalism.

Highlighted terms

Craft activity - Making things - Individual life - Enthusiasts - DIY - environmentalism

Unknown Words

  • Ethos - The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations: a challenge to the ethos of the 1960s.
  • Vernacular - The language or dialect spoken by the ordinary people in a particular country or region: he wrote in the vernacular to reach a larger audience.

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