I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a roll this week. I attended a lecture by and got to meet the rather fantastic Patrick Ian Hartley (and yes, I’m still grinning about that), I’ve gotten my head down and have been spending a lot of time making in the studio (pics will follow soon, I swear 😉 ) and, just when I thought things couldn’t get much better, I attended a lecture by Emma Walker, the CEO of Craft Scotland, who was visiting DJCAD to lecture on audience development.
It was a really exciting presentation, again emphasizing the need for us, as new designers, to make the most of the opportunities available to us, and where there appear to be none, to create them.
Emma Walker really is an inspiration. She was the UK’s youngest ever CEO at age 27 (a mere four years ago, I might add) and has completely redefined the connotations of craft in the UK.
When Emma started in her new role, she realized that there were a lot of negative connotations around “craft”.
It’s true. People either don’t understand what craft is (or indeed what Craft Scotland was) or had negative associations with the term. Many have no idea of the talented artists out there or of the vibrant, inspirational Scottish craft scene. Instead of getting a totally unique piece, meticulously handcrafted by a local artisan, the first port of call for many is the chain store, the mass-produced. For some this is a consciously chosen buying behaviour, for others it’s the result of a lack of awareness of what is actually out there.
To quote Emma, “craft, contrary to popular belief or the tired and lacklustre marketing campaigns that so often surround it, is one of the most urgent of art forms. It demands attention – and from now on it’s going to get it. We want to inject confidence into the sector, raise the profile of makers and their craft, and encourage the potential buyers to become craft supporters.
The contemporary craft sector has many faces – affordable and aspirational, functional and curatorial, a weekend shopping spree or an investment piece. However one thing remains the same – The C Word is most definitely craft.”
For more information about Craft Scotland and their inspirational work, please visit their website.