Exploring Craft Heritage




The conference, Transformation: Effect and affect of craft in society raise awareness of the role of craft in society in the broadest sense. The presenters at the conference provide perspectives on the many roles of craft in society, and the presentations are each connected to one of the three themes: Exploring craft heritage, Aesthetics of materiality and Technology and craft. Among the 35 presenters at the conference, 16 presenters have chosen the theme, Exploring craft heritage.

Craft researchers, artists, musicians, curators, conservators present at the conference explorative processes and findings in ways that bring traditions, modern techniques and creativity together. The presentations involve a specter of perspectives on material culture, craft knowledge, perception, storytelling, and relational aspects between human, objects, and site. Many different materials are used for making, exploring individually as professional practitioner and with people for engagement and pedagogical reason, e.g. and based on social concepts. Another example is how aesthetic quality manifests when a conservator collaborates as experts in teams, to uncover both technical challenges and artistic expression within the restoration of glass windows.

The importance of reconnection and access to valuable knowledge, through multi-perceptual approaches and materialized processes is highlighted, e.g., how the craft of glass making can be considered as the place of the body and the object within an ecosystem. There are pedagogical approaches, where design students learn about traditional textile fiber techniques, and the impact of craft as local dimensions. Further, the students explore these craft techniques through new composite materials.

Among rich, valuable craft traditions is also unique ways of extracting colors from Madder root, ‘an ancient red colour source, steeped in alchemy, history and symbolism: it soaks deeply into the many threads of my practice’ (Lester). This represents craft knowledge, presented in ways which resonate through new crafts and artistic expression. Materials have agency, and the meaning og crafted objects often change by space, site and time. Glenn Adamson’s definition of craft as ‘an active, relational concept,’ is referred to. That gives resonance to craft as transformative – as motion and change. This applies to the meaning of crafted objects as well as the description of crafted processes.

By exploration and creation of site-specific craft, it is clear that the use of several perceptions combined with materialized processes, open up for an awareness that contribute to uncover layers of knowledge and material cultures in new ways. Aesthetic awareness is another concept, considered as a competence, that can be developed through craft processes.  Material culture has many layers and meaning that varies through our choice of context, time and site. In that sense, to foster skills for being aesthetic aware can contribute for comprehension of craft heritage.

Imbedded in the presentations, issues of sustainability are addressed and explored in various ways. ‘It is about what we do with the cultural heritage we have received, how we become it and transform it through our practice so that future generations may benefit from it’ (Butucariu). 


Weaves and design. Innovation paths to enhance the local material culture Massimo Brignoni, University of the Republic of San Marino, Eleonora Trivellin, University of Ferrara, Italy
Cultural traces, structures and interactions Astrid Heimer, OsloMet, Norway
Interludes with Madder – Unfolding and Refolding of Time. Siân Lester, Wales, UK
From words to the object – knowledge translations. Márcia Vilarigues, NOVA University, Portugal,
Celtic Roots – Connecting Form & Field. TBA, Carlow County Council, Ireland
Crafting knowledge culture Robert Wiley, NOVA University, Portugal
Creating a platform for craft artists in Greece Apostolina Tsaltampasi, OECON, Greece
Creative impulse of craft curator: Craft practice as a continuous journey. Loucia Manopoulou, University for the Creative Arts, United Kingdom
The conservation and reconstruction of the Rose Window at Akershus Castle Oslo Wilhelm Peters, Glasmalerei Peters Studios, Germany
Rigid flexibility, paper crafting and social concepts Evita Stavrou, OECON, Greece
Body and object: an intelligent dialouge, Dr Fiona Byrne, Ireland
Sustainability in Ceramics art Diana Butucariu,  Bucharest National University of Arts, Romania
Curating Crafts in urban context Teresa Rieger & Ramon Betiya, (con)temporary Crafts Studio, Bremen, Germany
Sounding Craft, Erik Lindeborg, Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden


Photo credits:

Main photo + nr 5 – Diana Butucariu

Photo 2,3,4,- Massimo Brignoni and Elenora Trivellin