Reflection. Week 5
In today’s session of Design and Human Condition, we discussed craftsmanship and the creativity of artists behind it with guest lecturer Arnab Chakravarty. From my understanding artists can be considered a skilled craftsman. They are masters at their practice and keep improving with time. This brings me to craft artists. The literal definition of a craft artist is someone who makes an art piece by hand using multiple different techniques, but I believe every artist can be considered a craft artist. Producing an art piece requires a sense of design and technique to complete a piece.
Throughout this session, I was thinking about the craftsmen I’ve interacted with. Last year, in the foundation program we had 3D Design as one of our major courses. Our teacher Affan Baghpati encouraged us to interact and interview craftsmen for our research to understand the process of creating a craft.
Affan Baghpati is a fine artist who collects discarded, domestic and vintage objects from different cities of Pakistan and he deconstructs, redesigns, and creates a new hybrid version of the object. The objects he uses are those that were previously used in Pakistani and South Asian households and aren’t useful anymore. His idea of fabrication is unique and exclusive which he encourages amongst his students while he taught 3D design.
One of our assignments was to recreate a hard object into a stuffed toy. This is my favorite assignment from my entire experience in art school. We were asked to practice and understand seams and stitching. Furthermore, Baghpati asked us to visit craftsmen who practiced stitching and tailoring and understand cutting and the process of stitching. The research was the main component of this assignment and after the discussion session with Arnab Chakravarty, I understood the craftsmanship and how we, as young learners subconsciously get influenced by these skilled craftsmen. From using the right material to adding the final touches a master sahib (tailor) is one of a kind craftsman who puts his creative soul into an art piece.
Our next assignment was to construct a wooden furniture piece. The brief included some basic tips and tricks for manipulating wood but as we enjoyed the research process for the previous assignment, I decided to visit a carpenter and his shop. A carpenters shop is more of a casual studio for woodcrafts and smelled like a treehouse. I got to interact with one of the craftsmen who helped me learn about different machinery and also helped me construct my basic structure. I consider him a craftsman because he motivated me to understand the art behind carpentry and suggested ideas to make my artwork look and function better. I refurbished an old drawer into a coffee side table and from finding the old drawer to spraying polish the whole experience encouraged me to learn from craftsmen to improve my skills. My research started with brainstorming, and basic design, followed by researching and exploring the market to find the right material, my next step was getting help from a practicing craftsman (aka carpenter) and my final step was finishing the art piece of my creativity with the expertise of craftsmen.
These experiences cumulate to form a deeper understanding of art, design, and skills. We’re unaware of our surroundings until we discuss and research about it. A topic of discussion can polish your understandings and encourage you to broaden your perspective.