Craftsmanship & Designing
Cutting edge craft & creativity
They say, “Well begun is half done”, but if the maxim comes from craftsmen without even starting the project it creates a dilemma within us but what we fail to extract is that the crafting pattern and design layout has been digitized in their mind. It would be apt to say that “craftsmanship” is the word to start an argument with. We speak of good or bad craftsmanship as if we had built in standards and criteria but the closer we look at it the more complicated it all becomes. What we try to create at Delphi Leather is a timeless classic and the leather world knows the significance of such artistic collection. It is the very familiar things in life which are the most difficult to define. We seem to know all about them until we begin to think and our assurance vanishes and we are confused as it is with the concept of craftsmanship.
Our fascination with natural materials and our longing to shape them into new and beautiful forms is almost as old as civilization itself. Exceptional craftspeople have always endeavored to pass on their passion and skills, ensuring that centuries of collective knowledge are transferred into the safekeeping of the next generation. In today’s world of mass production, this level of thoughtfulness, detail and skill guided by human touch has become a rare and sought-after commodity for those who value true quality. The title of “master craftsman” is not one lightly bestowed as it encompasses skill and experience along with the essence of supreme dedication to one’s chosen craft. These artists maintain an uncompromising commitment to excellence; producing works that transcend functionality to be appreciated for their beauty, utility, impact and emotional connect.
With advancement of the industrial age and the subsequent emergence of the knowledge economy, the crafts got marginalized in the economy. The educational systems in developed countries sanctified intellectual intelligence and looked down on manual skills. In the arts conceptual innovation had overtaken craftsmanship as the core competence but all this is about to change. The creative economy increasingly calls for skills that are characteristic for craftsmanship and is backed by the trend in consumer culture that stresses authenticity and quality. Craftsmanship is to meet such preferences and furthermore satisfies the need for meaningful work.
Craftsmanship is not a mere word as the implications of the same has a diversified portfolio and hierarchy:
Traditional craftspeople are those who are making things that in their context are considered traditional;
Creative craftspeople are those who are making unique object, each with a distinctive quality and expressing the creativity of the maker;
Cutting edge crafts people are those who are exploring new territory, developing new practices, and shaping a new genre of craft products.
Indeed it is well said that, “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, as does the representation of Crafts in India because they exhibit the virtues of minimal waste, harmless production, natural material and the all important handmade production which humanizes consumption of the craft project as opposed to mass-production in the industrial process. Crafts are deeply embedded in the culture and are endowed with a multitude of intangible values which suggests that Indian crafts culture clearly promotes and nourishes a set of values alongside the economic values that are being generated.
Craftsmanship and Designing go hand in hand and it is hard to differentiate between the two except the fact that the designers usually leave the execution to craftspeople. Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user in an attempt to identify the concept, alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding.
Design Thinking revolves around a deep interest in developing an understanding of the people for whom we’re designing the products or services as it helps us observe and develop empathy with the target user. Design Thinking helps us in the process of questioning: questioning the problem, questioning the impact, and questioning the implications. Design Thinking is extremely useful in tackling problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by re-framing the concept in human-centric ways, creating many ideas in sessions, and adopting a hands-on approach in prototypes.
All variants of Design Thinking embody the same principles, which were first described by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon in The Sciences of the Artificial in 1969. Here, we will focus on the model proposed by the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, which is also known as d.school. We’ve chosen d.school’s approach because they’re at the forefront of applying and teaching Design Thinking. The phases of Design Thinking, according to d.school, are as follows:
Empathize – with your users
Define – your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights
Ideate – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
Prototype – to start creating solutions
It is important to note that the phases or stages are not always sequential. They do not have to follow any specific order and can often occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. Given that, you should not understand the phases as a hierarchical or step-by-step process. Instead, you should look at it as an overview of the modes or phases that contribute to an innovative project, rather than sequential steps.
With this in mind, it may be more correct to say that Design Thinking is not about thinking outside of the box, but on its edge, its corner, its flap, and under its bar code. In the world of craftsmanship and design one cannot end an article without mentioning, “Louis Vuitton”. What made Louis Vuitton the brand it is, was the quality as they don’t do marketing. They just create products which are exceptional in design and craftsmanship. Also in today’s world of retail where every brand is opening stores worldwide, Louis Vuitton is the only one which is planning to dampen its expansion worldwide and focus on high-end products to preserve its exclusive image.
We all are apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a “master” and We at Delphi Leather would like to conclude this article with an apt quote, “The life so short, the Craft so long to learn” by Hippocrates.