The Lure of Craft

From Camilla Fucili
I read David Sokol’s article “Born-Again Crafts-man” with great interest (September 2010, p.32). The story of Timothy Liles is a perfect example of the dual nature of the industrial-design discipline. As a RISD student with an undergraduate background in 3-D digital work, I can totally relate to Liles’s point of view: his desire to return to craft, as well as his enjoyment of computer-aided projects after a long period of sweat and dust in the shops.

There is a layer of personal attachment to one-of-a-kind pieces, a feeling that is lost when objects are produced on a large scale. The definition of industrial design itself implies that some form of standardization is applied to the design process. When the uniqueness of a piece is lost for the sake of mass production, it lacks a certain value; craft, as Liles says, can be the thing that recovers this lost meaning. The irregularity of materials’ behaviors and the imperfection of human hands create a base for a strong emotional connection to happen.

If we stop thinking about objects just in terms of merchandise and start conceiving objects with this additional intangible component, we’ll be able to create a framework for dialogue between materials and designer, and between final object and user. In this way, we as designers can prevent people from filling up their homes and lives with ordinary objects they have no real connection with.

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