Reviving Crafting, Reviving Us

“Craft should be honoured and those who master it revered. So while we work to encourage the learning of practical skills, we must also work to build demand for and recognition of them. Craft to feed the common good. Skills to serve the national interest. Ours will be – must be – the age of the craftsman.” – UNESCO

It was when I understood the above statement by UNESCO my life changed. I started realizing the importance of arts and crafts and their association with human well-being. I had started building myself, strengthening myself and reinforcing myself.  Acquiring and applying practical skills to craft things lead to an enormously satisfying state of mind. In our world where people are losing their sense of well-being and there is a growing sense of gloominess around, indulging in crafts is a great way out. For many people, it is craftsmanship that links the mind and the body and provides a genuine sense of wellbeing. Renowned sociologist Richard Sennett has written of the virtues of reviving ‘craftsmanship’ in the modern world: “The craft of making physical things provides insight into the techniques of experience that can shape our dealings with others … Material challenges like working with resistance or managing ambiguity and indulgence in the pursuit of shaping things are instructive in understanding the resistances people harbour to one another or the uncertain boundaries between people”.

The most challenging issue of Climate change which we are facing today, Crafting puts forth an interesting solution as its vernacular nature reduces the carbon footprint. Crafts introduce a familiarity with the raw materials and their uses around us. It can thus help us today to live sustainable, low-impact lifestyles. Crafts can clearly play a role in educating people about the environment and their local countryside, hence widening learners’ perception of the world around them. In the days gone by, tools used in craft and raw materials used to make objects were sourced locally and within a day’s walk of their consumption. This developed an understanding of the environment that most of us are lacking today. Despite the fact that a return to such a lifestyle would be impossible; craft remains an important way to explore how we can learn from the past for a greener future.

Arts and Crafts had been an integral component of our daily life since centuries but under the current urbanization we are losing them. Our culture and traditions captured exquisite values, and in the name of progress we are progressively losing them. There is a growing need to understand the significance of tracing back our roots, learning from the past and performing adaptive reuse of the same.

Today, our local artisans and craftsmen are losing their mettle where their skills are compromised due to monotonous machine goods. These goods which have to be sanitized prior to use whereas our crafted products are healthy and in fact, create a nourishing environment around. We should aim to revive diminishing art and craft forms while giving them a platform to explore their commercial value. There is an immense potential of connecting local artisans and craftsmen with new marketing systems and technology which would shape and develop the scope of urbanity, much closer to the heart of people. Engagement of traditional craftsmen will also ensure the legacy of centuries to live and emerge. The time has come when crafting is to be duly amalgamated with thinking and dwelling The value of craft in contemporary economy and society is not limited to the value produced, or solely held within the craft produced. Traditional crafts represent an important part of both our rural and urban heritage. Crafts have helped shape our country and history. To lose them would be losing a part of our culture that can never be replaced.

Moreover, as per the Consuming Crafts (a publication by Crafts Council, 2010), “Research has shown significant shifts in consumer demand, towards value-centred products, services and experiences which meet emotional – as well as functional – needs. As markets evolve in response to recession and a changing economy, there is a need to understand how these values and their associated behaviours – may shift and settle into new patterns of consumption relevant to craft and creativity”The emerging cyber-mart both for advertising and selling could be put to an optimal use. Craft bazaars, handicrafts markets and fairs will be utilized to their full and honest potential. However what we need today are Social Entrepreneurs who can understand the market bull’s eye which are institutional and hospitality sector and can direct the segment appropriately towards them: An appropriate stage is needed to attract

The emerging cyber-mart both for advertising and selling could be put to an optimal use. Craft bazaars, handicrafts markets and fairs will be utilized to their full and honest potential. However what we need today are Social Entrepreneurs who can understand the market bull’s eye which are institutional and hospitality sector and can direct the segment appropriately towards them: This role has to be assumed by youth to understand the impact of crafts and enable them to showcase their importance in the present-day world. An appropriate platform is needed to attract high-end customers in turn facilitating publicity by word of mouth.

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