April 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Edited by Susan Luckman (University of South Australia) & Nicola Thomas (University of Exeter).
A making renaissance is underway with handmade practice and goods in global demand. Thus the central aim of The Craft Economy collection is to bring together a comprehensive account of the current moment of growth in the contemporary handmade marketplace. We wish to examine the reasons why we are now seeing such significant growth, and identify the key drivers – both in terms of production and consumption. Importantly, we seek to locate this discussion within the larger picture of its implications for our understandings of the contemporary cultural economy. For example, what it may reveal about perceptions of authenticity and practices of ethical consumption, as well as shifting labour and production models (creative micro-enterprise; the home-based digital cultural economy; the attraction of entrepreneurial self-employment; and the gendering of craft work). In the digital age, almost seventy years since the Frankfurt School first railed against the culture industry’s commodification and standardisation of all art, the bespoke ‘analogue’ physical item becomes Othered, different, desirable. Handmade objects are imbrued with touch, and therefore offer a sense of the ‘authentic’ in an ‘inauthentic’ world: they offer connection to the maker through the skill and learning apparent in their construction, and they demonstrate the time spent on their making in a way in most other objects cannot. Handmade cultural goods thus need to be located within wider debates regarding ethical consumption, makings, and ‘retro’ interest in unique physical artefacts.
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