Values for the Future of Craft

Aug 13, 2019 · 3 min read

What are the values which will be important for crafts in the future.

Photo by ZMorph Multitool 3D Printer on Unsplash

Sustainability ( Resources )

Crafts need to be environmentally sustainable in how and where the material is sourced from and how much is used. Sustainable may mean to only use locally sourced materials or it can also mean to change the way the traditional crafts is practiced by using new materials or techniques.

The produce and the scale of craft should not end up repeating the industrial exploitation of resources.

For example We cannot expect all houses to be constructed of Wood as we cannot support that amount of deforestation. Similarly a large scale deployment of baked terracotta can add up to huge carbon emission. Crafts should work for lowering the environmental impact, not increasing it for romanticism.

Community Based

Crafts would take a role in building the community and culture around it. The community may be geographical,cultural or interest based, but for the craft to thrive and make an impact it must involve a number of similarly inclined stakeholders. Giving everyone a voice and role in the process. Craft builds community, community builds crafts.

For example, In traditional religious institutions like temples and cathedrals, the rituals sustain the craft economy around the temples, both the culture and the craft are interconnected through rituals.

In a more contemporary example, open source culture like Github, Thingiverse show individuals across classes and cultures sharing values forming a community of makers and contributors.


Crafts cannot afford to take a non-functional, luxury and aesthetic space. Future crafts will actively participate in solving contemporary problems, whether it be on a global scale around construction techniques and pollution, or personal scale in helping us combat stress. From hacking technology to shaping it, crafts will adapt to the issues of the times.

For instance, A product like MittiCool uses terracota to provide low cost, affordable refrigeration to rural population. And warka water towers are using traditional weaving techniques to collect water from the air.


Crafts should not be a silo-ed activity. Future craft practice will involve different fields of knowledge, not just designers and artist but economists, data-scientists, material researcher, AI engineers to take up big contemporary problems and push the making forward. Everyone involved in the process will be equal parts a maker and craftsman.

For Instance, In a traditional village community, the craftsmen and the farmers were co-dependent on each other for tools and materials. In a contemporary society, The relation extends to modern professions and fields of education, a new co-dependence. It can be seen as Entanglement of create fields as Neri Oxman puts it or collaborations, like the work of Nervous Systems in 3D printing a heart. The idea is to imagine crafts in this landscape.


Crafts practices will be accessible in its knowledge and in who can practice it. A practice need not be tied to a class or caste, allowing craftsmen to move along the crafts as they need, The knowledge and training will be available on open platforms to learn and move forward together. The tools and technology will follow a similar trend and make itself open to tinkering and exploration.

Crafts have a class and caste problem, especially in India. Socio-Economic identity and position is defined by the profession. An accessible craft means that given someone has an interest in it, they can pursue it with the knowledge easily available to them without discrimination. A limited example of this can be seen in the form of youtube tutorials, MOOC courses and MakerSpaces.


The practice will be about the people and community first and foremost. The labour is respected and the craftsmen will take ownership of their craft. The Un-Alienation can happen at the level of economy, purpose or aspiration. Perhaps the most difficult and vague value to achieve, It should at its simplest thrive to make the craftsmen proud in there craft, while providing a respectable sustenance.


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Future Craft

A research inquiry into the future of traditional,contemporary and tomorrow’s crafts and what it means for its practitioners and the society around it.

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