Affinity with Plymouth University x Hole & Corner Magazine

THE RISE OF THE NEO MAKER CULTURE

BACKGROUND

There is no doubt that the artisanal, handmade lifestyle is having a ‘moment’ right now, crossing into the global mainstream as it does. In today’s fast-paced, throwaway society, people are re-evaluating what is most important in their lives and demanding greater authenticity, provenance, responsibility and sustainability 

Reference

Hole & Corner Magazine

 
 

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?

  • A demand for something of real physical substance and value in the face of digital. 
  • A need to feel reassured that we’re spending our money wisely on things that are well made and will last.

THE DANGER OF ‘FALSE AUTHENTICITY’

  • Brands now want to portray themselves as part of a craft movement even when they don’t have the heritage to back it up. (Overuse/dilution of terms like ‘artisan’ ‘authentic’ ‘handmade’.
  • Established brands could undercut the genuine craftsmen and makers, introducing cheaper, inferior products. 

The challenge is in translating an openness and receptiveness in the consumer into a real commitment: and that means explaining to them the true value to be found in crafted goods.

POSITIVE SIGNS OF CHANGE

  • On the plus side: if big brands are seeing a demand to be acted upon, then it bodes well about the audience for well-crafted goods as a whole.
  • Basic economic advantage of investing in fewer, better made products.
  • People are beginning to take a more holistic view of how they consume products. (eg: provenance in food sector)

THE WAY FORWARD

  • A marriage of traditional craft with modern innovation 
  • Rooted in authenticity, dedication and real substance. At the heart of it, as Sutcliffe explains, is one core principle: “Being a craftsman is essentially about caring.”

It is that deep-rooted care, applied at every level, that makes the real difference; and that is where the value lies. Real craft is created through dedication. 

AN EXPORTABLE ASSET

  • The Craft Council’s Business Plan 2012-15 notes the “latent export potential given the growing interest in the purchase of high quality craft in emerging markets including China and the UAE”. (http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/)
  • Major brands are “keen to position their products as acceptable luxuries in a climate of austerity”. 
  • The craft sector produces a combined turnover of £339m per annum and GVA of £170m per annum
  • A perfect storm of “economic downturn, digitisation, and increasing responsiveness to concerns about environmental sustainability and social equity” is building momentum. 

Coakley: there will always be a demand for well made craft products by designer-makers such as those he sells because, “When it comes down to it, people want to eat at a table or sit down on a chair.”