Points of departure and points of arrival:
Traditional arts are contemporary.
The artisans who work with a low level of technology and apply traditional know-how, replicating ancestral models and creating new ones, are not part of a revisionist past, nor are their products archaeological curiosities. Their work is integrated in the present and projects to the future, advancing unique and sustainable possibilities, standing shoulder to shoulder with high technology and actively contributing to contemporaneity’s challenges and hopes. Dichotomies such as “handicrafts/design”, “traditional/contemporary” or “tradition/innovation” push artisanal work towards a romantic and nostalgic, pure and popular past, thus reducing its opportunity to take part in the debate on contemporary ideas. For that reason, they must be replaced by a shared and shareable basis of understanding.
Artisanal products are beautiful
because they are useful.
Their decorative motifs and patterns are a completely inseparable from their usefulness; they exist to enhance everyday use and actions. They have a tactile and tangible dimension because materials are recognised naturally (even genetically) by our senses. Through their functionality, artisanal objects add value and meaning to the gestures made in using them. The material culture of the everyday is thus enhanced – with simplicity, comfort and natural beauty – in a process of use and consumption that is always guided by artisanal manufacturing’s respect for the environment.
Traditional arts and crafts
are important to our culture.
Artisanal manufacture has a way of doing things that is validated by time and use, in contrast to automatisms that quickly become anachronistic or obsolete. Artisanal products are more competent and responsive than mass-produced products, as they contain unique codes and solutions that enrich our everyday life’s material culture and liberate it from the standardised aesthetic trends of the global markets. Tradition, based on the pillars of repetition and permanence, accommodates innovation mechanisms necessary for building better futures.
Situated craft practices nourish a balanced relationship between the place, the landscape and the climate.
They use mainly natural materials, respect nature’s biological cycles and contribute to the management of resources. It is a manufacturing method that depends on intimate and healthy interaction with the geographic area to which it belongs, in a dynamic of harmony with the natural landscape and the climate. Take the work of a basket-maker, for example, which involves planting, caring and harvesting the plants that will give the fibres for making the baskets: maintaining, harvesting, treating, processing, cleaning, transforming and giving form to something. This is a way of life and work inherent to nature’s pace.
Artisanal production is a critical activity.
By continuing to reproduce forms and apply ancestral methods, thus conserving knowledge and thousand-years-old models, artisanal manufacture indelibly affirms its significance to contemporaneity and its contribution to a future based on fair and responsible consumption. Thanks to their adaptability, artisanal work methods and new resulting products advance and amplify the critical debate on material culture, particularly by highlighting the contrast between what is in harmony with nature and the innovative proposals of a synthetic reality. These processes replicate the confrontation between the meandering nature of biological processes and the artificial velocity of mega-trends, a confrontation that is part of our modern everyday life. Traditional arts are thus essential for a critical analysis of the values of contemporaneity, the global debate on sustainability, consumption and well-being, and the functioning of local and circular economies.
Knowing, conserving, divulging, reinventing, integrating:
Beginning with what is common and shared to give origin to new everyday uses, generate reflection and new modes of making and consuming.