Design; Craft and Culture - Some Remarks on Production of Textile Craft in the Companies Vävkompaniet and Designbrenner

Viveka Berggren Torell
The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås, Sweden

Eva Knuts
The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås, Sweden

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Ingår i: Current Issues in European Cultural Studies; June 15-17; Norrköping; Sweden 2011

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 62:11, s. 81-93

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Publicerad: 2011-11-22

ISBN: 978-91-7519-993-1

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


According to anthropological research it is fundamental that aspects of conceptuality and materiality are tied together in handicraft products. Objects have a social history and a cultural biography as well as a material form (Appadurai 1996). Thus analyzing crafting knowledge must involve both looking for bodily competences performed in the meeting with the materials (hand operations; touch; rhythm etc) and mapping cultural meanings on craft. In the ongoing project “Design; craft and culture” this is done through visual/sensory ethnography. Participant observations with video-filming and interviewing are done at Vävkompaniet; a cooperative running handicraft shop; and Design Brenner; private family company for tufting.

This paper brings up cultural meanings on craft; expressed by the craft practitioners themselves. What producers in both companies tell about work practices; inspiration; how they relate to the textile tradition etc. is discussed. Their definitions of the concepts craft; art craft; sloyd and design are especially highlighted. This is important since debate regarding craft as material expression versus craft as conceptual art implies different focuses when it comes to what counts as important knowledge - skill in using the proper raw material and technique to make useful products; or skill to materialize ideas in creative ways?


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