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Shaoyuan Wang

The projects in Msc Product Design in DJCAD, 2016-2017.

‘STUFF’

After meeting with many craftsmen who are doing different craft. I found out that the ‘stuff’ they work with is quite special and different. Especially, the material and tool shows their identity. For example, saddler works with stitching tools and leather very often.

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Also materials and tools bring the feeling of making process. Then, I made this sketchy prototype which was a portable storage board. I carried it while walking around the fine art department in my school. I asked the students if they would like to share the material they work with. And I brought the board with ‘stuff’ to other classroom, the students there were interested in knowing what the material were for.  They used card to leave the questions for makers.

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From this activity, I realised that the ‘stuff’ itself brought the conversation between audience and makers. The storage board, as a platform, allows the craftsman to connect to the public.

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After that, I had three ideas about the interactive ways to show craftsman’s stuff.

 

The first one is a resin block. It works as a material business card. Instead of a piece of paper with some contact number, I think the raw material will make people feel real.

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The second one is a tote bag. I did Rip+Mix with tote bag and storage board. A side of bag is designed as a storage board to show what materials and tools the craftsman work with. It is like a mobile information board which motivates people to start a conversation. I don’t focus on the functionality but the touchpoint of service for this concept.

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The third one is inspired from IKEA Recipe Poster. The beautiful layout can just simply attract the users. 7

Looking at the desktop the craftsman using, there are three main object categories, material, tools and hands.

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The hands are a part of the spirit of craftsmanship. Most of craftsmen work with their hands, and the mark on the hands are the symbol of their hard work. The hands are very personal. The craftsman must be proud of their craftwork as well as their hands.

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So, I would like to make an interface to encourage craftsman to show their stuff and hands through social media. It can be attached to the object they use a lot, like tool kit, craft desk, and so on.

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These ideas are still not quite solid. I will develop them and play with different material and forms to figure out which work well.

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Experience in Woodland Festival

To experience how was people engaged into traditional craft, I took part in the woodland festival in Falkland, Scotland. In the festival, it provides free traditional craftsmanship workshops for young people (18-25 years old), and it also offers taster tours and talks about traditional craftsmanship and the stories in local area.

I joined in a two-day leatherworking workshop and the taster tour over weekends. The structure of the building for workshop was quite simple, and the open space allowed people to see what were others doing, which encouraged members to have more communication and share their skills as well as stories.

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There were loads of books and literature showing the information about woodwork in Fife and Scotland.

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The activity sheets were gathering the feedback from members.

First day

I arrived at Chancefield Woodland Centre in the morning, then we started the leatherworking workshop after a wee introduction.

My leatherwork teacher was an craftsman from Cupar which was a town closed to Falkland. She introduced the material and tools to us. It was good to know the characteristics of  each material and tools.

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While working on the craft, we shared our background stories to each other, which made us more familiar with each other. And I was surprised everyone has their own talent.

After the leatherwork session in the morning, we went for the taster tour with a group of people who were passionate on nature. We wandered in the forest, being a part of the nature. We appreciated the inspiration given by the nature.

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The host of the festival took us to the place where last project happened, and he showed us how they brought children to the nature. In addition, the huts in that area would be next project.

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During the tour, people used their own ways to record the essence and the goodness of nature and the wisdom of human. We talked about anything to each other, from one piece of mushroom to the history of Falkland.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore the dinner, we sit in a circle to chat about the future of this woodwork place. We grabbed the stick to share our ideas. We believed that everybody here had the best experience and they were experts in using this space as users.

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After the dinner, people moved to camping field to chill. Sitting on the grass around the fire, we continued making things. Musicians were playing their wonderful never-ending music. Everyone had their own way responding to the nature.

 

Second day

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Different workshops started in the morning with amazing sunshine.  All the material and tools were showing their personalities in our hands. We touch things and feel things. Making process created a magical relationship between makers and objects.

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Because of the epic weather, nobody wanted to stay indoor. We enjoyed every bites while chatting with each other. I felt that nature and human’s connection was giving the real luxury service in this world.

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I didn’t know how to describe the moment when I completed my handmade leather bag. I was so moved when I touched my crafted bag.

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These two days were one of the best time I have spent in Scotland. You can literally feel how welcoming this place is. When I really enjoyed the company with fantastic people, I forgot the initial purpose why I came here. But the answers were very obvious. I appreciate the gift from the nature, I appreciate the tutorial and company from my teacher and I appreciate the organizers and hosts provided this great opportunity for craft lovers.

I truly wish the traditional craftsmanship could be sustained and passed on, and the activities and groups which support craftsmen to share stories and positive attitudes can be encouraged.

Thank you!

You can find more information on their website.  http://woodworks.org.uk/

Ideation Workshop

To generate more ideas, I organized one workshop in a local knitting shop. There is a lovely interactive space in this knitting shop. People can gather together, chatting and knitting at the same time. I believe the end-user would be more than helpful in the design process.

This Co-design ideation workshop was divided into three sections, which are brainstorming, stakeholders map and Rip+Mix.

The participants were diverse: members of the knitting shop, craft lovers, shop keeper and students. And they were in different age groups. From 21 to 60.

Brainstorming

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From my research, I found three key words are very important for craftsmanship, which are LOCALITY, PROCESS, CONNECT. The task was thinking about the objects and behavior around those three words. Participants felt that:

Local shops and local events were essential to encourage local people to be involved in the craft.

The process of doing craft is a collaborative work.

The space like workshop and exhibition connects people from different positions.

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Stakeholders map

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The stakeholders map is used to be used for clarifying the relationship between stakeholders. Yet, here, I wanted to figure out which groups the participants were more interested in. During this exercise, we found that some groups can be local as well as international, such as customers and tourists.

After filling the activity sheet, I asked them one question: which group would you like to highlight in craft activity. Then participants started voting with the red dots.

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In the end, most of people chose the groups in ‘local range’.

 

Rip+Mix

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Rip+Mix is a fast, effective and engaging idea generation tool to help encourage creative and innovative thinking. I introduced this design tool to the participants and guided them to create new product or service by using Rip+Mix.

After they completed the form, they presented their ideas. Everybody’s idea was totally different, from craft tool design to craft service design. Through sharing the thinking, I gained plenty of inspiration. Even though the new ideas were not finely finished, the interaction of sharing in the workshop was enjoyable. IMG_4985.JPG

This workshop is also as a craft lover’s social networking activity. The picture of sharing experience and opinions was beautiful. I really appreciate the people managing this kind of social spaces. And I would like to have more activities like this informal workshop to allow people to learn things and talk about things.

Making is Connecting

“Look at the recent studies of happiness, which suggest that individuals are more satisfied when they are part of social network”

— David Gauntlett <Making is Connecting>

Since there are many traditional artisans are doing independent work, we could help them survive in these ways, which allows them to be a part of social network,

· Encourage people to record and learn

· Create a stage to share the process and the story

· Engage design team and cultural protection organization to support them

· Explore marketing opportunity

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For example, Harris Tweed is a cloth handwoven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.

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Make Works is an open access directory of fabricators, material suppliers, workshops and manufacturers. They are making manufacturing accessible. Think of it like a public library. An open resource made by dedicated factory finders where you can discover skilled manufacturers, tools and materials to make work with in your area.

Insights & Opportunities:

· Make their story and products more visible and accessible.

· Use the advantages of the economic environment to help the traditional craftsmanship.

· Those valuable skills can be passed on to the next generation.

·  ‘Making is Connecting’

 

Then, I would like to design a physical product which creates the connection to help them sustain the craftsmanship ( To be a part of social network) .

The connection would between

Craftsman – Craftsman; Craftsman – Supporter (designers); Craftsman – The public

The Process

When I give you one silk scarf, you might take it because you like the pattern or you don’t take it because you don’t like its colour. It is quite black and white. However, what if I tell you the amazing process of  making this scarf behind the scenes to show its uniqueness? Would you change your perspective on it?

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Hermès – The artisan is screen printing scarf

THE GREAT SHOKUNIN mini-documentary series tells the stories of crafts people across Asia. This mini-documentary mainly focus on the craftsmanship process, artisan spirit and its background.  The producer Li said the key to success is understanding “the spirit” of the craftsmen and women, that they are doing what they love and do not treat it as a mere job.

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By watching the process, audience can truly feel artisan’s passion and originality and the magic of traditional craftsmanship.

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From my survey, we can obviously see the people do craft prefer attending workshops and making things with friend. Craft itself is an interactive activity. Thus the process of craft can engage people to connect each other and share things.

Insights:

· Experiencing the process helps understand more, rather than seeing and hearing.

· Enjoy the making process while communicating and interacting.

 

 

 

The Locality

“Craft often represents an intensely personal or symbolic relationship with a particular locality. This ‘sense of place’ does, by its very nature, largely defy objective analysis: it is as unique to each person as it is to each locality. ”

– Garima Aggarwal Roy, Craft and Globlisation : A Contemporary Place for Traditional Practices

“The rewarding experience of digging clay, knowing the history of Easter Kincaple Farm and Seafield Brickworks, our love of earthenware pottery and the enjoyment of making gave us the idea to experiment with using the old practise of country pottery as a starting point to put into practise contemporary thinking (for example sustainability, local supplies and the slow movement), with the aim of creating a local, carbon neutral pottery.”

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Insights:

· Local material – Understand the land, care about the land

· Local craftsman – The best people telling the story

· Local environment – The background of the craft

Understanding of the Craft

What is Craft?

Nowadays, it is more difficult to define Craft. There are many pieces of artwork made by hands. The boundary of craft and art sometimes is not necessarily clear.

From the interview with a local ceramist, he has his own opinion on craft. It shows in the graph below.

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There is some data shows that people thinks differently towards craft and craft activity.

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However, there are several levels in craft activity. From DIY craft which is focusing on people creating things for themselves without the aid of paid professionals (Wikipedia) to professional craftsmanship, such as handwoven scarf and wood carving.

”New generations need to know that there is craft beyond cross stitch and Christmas tree decorations.”

“It is extremely important to set the stage right for the craftsmen; this would mean dealing with the craft with utmost dedication and sensitivity. The craftspeople are the foundation of this industry, and it is important for NGOs, governments, design houses, funders and the end buyers to encourage their personal growth and interests. ”

— Garima Aggarwal Roy, Craft and Globlisation : A Contemporary Place for Traditional Practices

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The graph of the result of my questionnaire is thought-provoking. Majority of younger generation do not know much about traditional craftsmanship. On the other hand, the artisans would also be tough to survive in such a society. This fact made me rethink about the sustainability of traditional craftsmanship.

Certainly, there are other reasons why some traditional craft techniques are disappearing.

· Low productivity, it is difficult to survive in this ecnomic status

· Less users causes shrinkage of market

· Seldom people inherits the craftsmanship

· Tough independent labor

My challenge would be how to help traditional craftsmanship survive.

 

Design Proposal

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Ideas

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