Craft-based design for innovation: Potential in novelty, quality and sustainability through hands-on interaction

2019-02-12T11:39:50Z (GMT) by Jenny Pinski Faith Kane Mark A. Evans
The industrial revolution created a rise in mass manufacture, increasing consumption to current unsustainable levels and marking a decline in hands-on craft practice. In contemporary practice, designers frequently employ digital ways of working and, whilst this may create opportunities and efficiencies, it can limit the working of materials by hand. In contrast, hands-on craft processes can develop in-depth knowledge and understanding to help solve complex and novel design problems. With increasing use of digital design methods, it is timely to reflect on the role and value of hands-on craft practices. The study explores the use of craft-based approaches to support design practice in relation to novelty and quality and considers its future potential to contribute to design for sustainability. A design project that integrated hand weaving with sandal design was undertaken and qualitative data collected. This was analyzed through data reduction, coding, clustering and display and is presented as a case study. The findings indicate that a craft-based approach can contribute to a heightened control of materials, construction and awareness of wider design issues such as the development process, production methods and environmental impact. Difficulties were identified in inefficient use of time and a knowledge/skills gap between specialist design and craft disciplines.