Recraftism

Luo Yuchen / Trafalgar

Recraftism means a group of objects/art works/designs which are using a developed definition of old crafts or old skills. One phenomenon happening in China these years that many exquisite artistic handicrafts lost their cultural inheritance. Those crafts are really sum up by the Chinese old ancients with wisdom and astonishing skills, losing them could be a huge waste in our civilization. However, craftsman can hardly makes living in this period of time by selling their hand-make object, depends on most of the old crafts are cut off from the technical society. To solve this problem, we need to reuse or improve those craft into a new form.

Works that are ongoing

CAFA (Central Academic of Fine Art) is one of the best art school in Beijing, China, which has focus on studying old craft for decades. According to one of their task ‘Metamorphosis’ happened in 2016 required students to study an old craft then conferring it a new concept. I was one of them. The craft I picked was called filigree. It is a traditional fine metal workmanship to make jewelries for the nobility in ancient China. The main skill in this craft is to build complicated structure by metal lines only, without welding or soldering(image 1). Obviously, this technology can be used in architectures, which can save fossil/solid fuel. On the other hand, if we left enough space between the metal lines, the structure will be flexible(image 2). I was wondering to design a body/ joint shelter with therapeutic efficacy for athlete.

Summary

Recraftism does not only means to refine the craft, but also can be a start. Each craft should has its own reason to be created, even though this is not the right era, there should be a function that can support its existence.

Thatching: An Age-Old Craft in Modern England

Thatched roof of the poor now became a stylish, expensive and quintessentially symbol for British family. This craft looks like pilling all the materials together, but actually to make the roof’s style, lines and curves vivid, it needs a worker takes a five-year apprenticeship to gain the skill. Each of the roof they made can keep for more than 20 years in the damp climate like Britain, and probably need to be rebuilt after 25 years, but that is long enough.

The London artist bringing an age-old craft bang up to date

Alex May Hugheis a designer who composed pop art elements with traditional glass painting techniques and established her career while she was studying at The London College of Communications around 2012. Her first solo exhibition ‘Glass & Gold’ sorted out a set of display windows and advertisement designs, using materials 100% from nature. She is not just trading, but also showing her attitude through her works.