Craft and the Creative Economy by S. Luckman

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By S. Luckman

Craft and the artistic economic climate examines where of craft and making within the modern cultural economic system, with a particular concentrate on the ways that this inventive quarter is starting to be exponentially due to on-line shopfronts and home-based micro-enterprise, 'mumpreneurialism' and downshifting, and renewed call for for the hand-crafted.

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In the face of rapid industrialisation, the Arts and Crafts Movement sought to rekindle the wealth of craft knowledge and, alongside it, they fought against the reduction of labour to production-line or routinised piecework joylessly undertaken by poverty-stricken workers. But the Arts and Crafts Movement was, clearly, uniquely focused on not only a political but also an aesthetic project. Indeed, it is via the iconic prints, objects and home furnishings of Morris & Co. and Liberty that contemporary consumers tend to be most familiar with the aesthetics of the movement.

Highly tactile as it is, craft may seem an unlikely sectorial candidate for growth enabled via digital technologies. But while one may not be able to hold or feel the product when buying, other digital capacities go some way to mitigating this, notably peer endorsement, the capacity for product personalisation, and social media’s space to present a maker’s personal back story (BOP Consulting 2012, p. 15). Significantly too, these sites are not simply shop-fronts but ‘networked publics’ (Ito 2008; boyd 2011; Varnelis 2008).

For instance, the Shoreditch Sisters have undertaken an embroidery-focused campaign making a quilt of vulva-shaped patches in protest against female genital mutilation (FGM) (Clark 2013). An article describing this campaign in the London Evening Standard was accompanied by images of ‘20- and 30-something’ WI members from the Dalston Darlings, Shoreditch Sisters and Gothic Valley WI branches. This ‘stealth feminism’ by the WI, in particular the campaign against FGM, was the focus of another newspaper article a couple of months later, this time in The Guardian.

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