Paper short abstract:
Can the relationship between designers and craftsmen be defined as a new form of apprenticeship? Looking at the recent history of Sardinia the paper will discuss power relationships and dynamics of production in craft-design projects, one of the most interesting cultural phenomena of our times.
Paper long abstract:
After World War II in Sardinia, the I.S.O.L.A. brought artists and designer to work with craftsmen to reinvent traditional crafts for the modern market. Despite several positive outcomes, the project led to a divide between aesthetic and technique in the craft object. Almost at the same time new regulations on juvenile labour and the mass schooling ended apprenticeship as intended before, leading to a scenario in which crafts production processes were negotiated with, when not superimposed by, representatives of the hegemonic culture.
Today, as heritagisation transformed the function of handcrafted objects, it's the very idea of craft that needs to be redefined.
While some old master craftsmen are highly regarded in Sardinian society, the new generations relay, especially for their aesthetic education, on schools, books, the internet and - most interestingly - on designers and artists, a kind of collaboration that the experience of I.S.O.L.A. made acceptable and sought after. However, designers and crafters -, mostly belonging to different cultural groups - might build asymmetrical power relationships that undermine any true cultural exchange.
Looking at some of the most significant Sardinian craft-design projects - among which Maria Lai's legacy for the weavers of Ulassai, Antonio Marras' work with the embroiderers of Alghero and DOMO - the XIX Biennial of Sardinian Craft - the possibility to rethink these projects as a new, post global system of apprenticeship will be discussed.
The Future of Craft: Apprenticeship, Transmission and Heritage