The Fu­ture Mas­ter Craftsper­son: How to Get What You Want

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Open Culture + Wearables

Presentation Title:

  • The Fu­ture Mas­ter Craftsper­son: How to Get What You Want

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Panel: Open Culture + Wearables

    Craft does not mean made by hand, with­out tools or tech­nol­ogy. It means made with care, with fore­sight, with skill and in­volve­ment. When craft is op­ti­miza­tion for re­peata­bil­ity the process still re­lies on human judg­ment and is not com­pletely com­put­er­ized. E-tex­tiles are an ex­am­ple of a mod­ern craft, which pro­duces tech­nol­ogy it­self in the form of wear­able elec­tron­ics but its pro­duc­tion process re­lies heav­ily on crafts. Au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods for com­bin­ing tex­tiles and elec­tron­ics sim­ply do not exist yet. What will hap­pen when the first PCB weav­ing ma­chine hits the mar­ket? Will the craft in e-tex­tiles sur­vive? Craft, as op­posed to au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing is a cre­ative process with much room for error, in­no­va­tion, ex­pres­sion and di­ver­sity. But it does not lend it­self well to serv­ing the needs of a pop­u­la­tion ac­cus­tomed to mass-pro­duc­tion. Will we be­come e-tex­tile grand­moth­ers, sewing LEDs onto t-shirts for our grand­chil­dren while in­dus­try pro­duces them in bulk?

    Will our grand­chil­dren think of our cre­ations as un-cool be­cause they are hand­made? When our skills be­come de­val­ued be­cause ma­chines can repli­cate our work faster, cheaper and “bet­ter” we will still enjoy the craft process. But in­stead of sit­ting back to be­come e-tex­tile grand­moth­ers, per­haps com­pe­ti­tion from the ma­chine will en­cour­age us to move on. In ac­cept­ing this chal­lenge, the fu­ture mas­ter craftsper­son needs to re-in­vent craft in order to main­tain rel­e­vance and ex­press the ad­van­tages of man over ma­chine. In this paper we pre­sent a body of work cre­ated within the in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary field of e-tex­tiles. We re­flect on the in­tro­duc­tory themes in­tro­duced in the ab­stract by de­tail­ing and an­a­lyz­ing our craft ap­proach to build­ing elec­tron­ics as well as our ex­plic­itly open stance on doc­u­ment­ing and shar­ing our tech­niques. We con­clude with a dis­cus­sion on what it could mean to be­come fu­ture crafts­peo­ple and pass on our trade.

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