Artisan hosted an important exhibition, The Apprenticeship, celebrating the work and stories of 13 artisans. The exhibition focused on how these craftspeople had pioneered pathways to gaining their craft skills, in essence re-inventing the traditional apprenticeship. The exhibition represented a diversity of craft skills, eg: shoe-making, furniture making, drum making and blacksmithing.
Peter Bosworth’s drums and Ian Morgan’s pendants.
To close this exhibition, Nora joined Artisan’s panel discussion about new learning pathways to craft skills.
In an interesting dialogue with the panel and an engaged audience, the concensus was that the future is bright for craft given the renewed interest and developing momentum in craft and maker culture. However, it is only possible if craft is able to garner mass support from industry, government, patrons and the public. Given that some craft disciplines are facing skills shortages and many masters are approaching retirement, there is an urgency to formulate an understanding of what we need to sustain for the future viability of these practices. As was proposed on the night, perhaps it is time to introduce guilds in a re-imagined form that not only direct the development of the discipline but also provide support to the diverse ways that craft practitioners make a living out of what they do. At a time when government spending of the arts is decreasing, any long-term stability for craft will depend on grass-root actions that push the agenda of craft as a sustaining and sustainable mode of production and a significant contributor to local culture. Each of us share in that responsibility!
Panelists: Roy Schack, Aaron Barton, Clare Kennedy and Nora Kinnunen, and chaired by Richard Stride.
Thank you Artisan and all the artisans that were part of this valuable exhibition!