Editorial to 'Mapping Dutch conceptual crafts'|
photographs of book launch and symposium 'Crafted', Amsterdam, 19 april
from left: co-editor Femke Glas, graphic designer Svea Gustavs, signing book for text editor Rowan Hewison
This book is about makers of conceptual crafts ( vrije vormgeving) and their work. It sets conceptual crafts within the broad context of the worlds of contemporary art and design. The six essays and numerous images sketch a picture of the past, present and future of conceptual crafts. The book represents a snapshot of the profession that continues to develop. Crafts and decorative arts are changing rapidly as a reaction to social changes resulting from globalisation, technological progress and the demand for sustainable design. These changes have created a new identity for makers whose essence is curiosity, constant innovation and the desire to produce multifaceted work.
The 94 photographs have been assembled by 35 experts: lectureres, gallery owners, members of various organisations. Instead of the usual subdivision by discipline ( textiles, glass, jewellery) we have opted for a more general theme for each chapter.
Chapter one is devoted to materials. Examples include a brooch of pressed silver, silk and polyester; a chain of felt and latex; three dimensional folded paper forms and experimental high-tech textiles with tactile and organic combinations of materials.
Chapter two focuses on people. Universal human themes are represented by objects such as a surreal upholstered chair for a nomad and cuddly toys specially designed for sick children.
Chapters three and four deal with design elements like stacking, collages and inspiration by existing objects.
In all chapters work with themes like sustainable design, social focus and public realm can be found.
Four Dutch and two foreign authors have written about aspects like the recent history and development of Dutch conceptual crafts, the economic position of makers on the international market and critical comments on the commercialisation of design.
The book is more than anything a sketchbook; showing conceptual-crafts-in-progress including a short summary of Dutch educations, a selected bibliography and websites.
published by BNO april 2009
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