Into the Grey: the Confluence of Art, Craft & Design

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Date Submitted: 09/19/2012 06:39 PM

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Into The Grey: The Confluence of Art, Craft & Design

In the three decades succeeding World War II, America experienced expansive growth and merging in the realm of art and craft - a catalyst for the landscape we now see in contemporary design practice. As design and art have become more and more integrated, reflecting the confluence of art, craft, and design, and giving way to experimental and discursive practices that find a venue in major galleries, the landscape of design now exists as a significant stratum within the realms of artifact and functional object. This duality affords the opportunity for experimentation, speculation, and ideation as a means for discourse. Still, for as much as there is to be gained, so often, something is lost in both clearly defining as well as blurring the distinction between the three realms. The following, therefore, is an exploration of the factors that served to alter our perception of the nature of all three realms, how it has affected design practise, and what the potential implications are moving forward.

It has been well documented, since the earliest days of our existence, man has been “making,” and as skills and tools evolved, so did our abilities to pursue complexity and seek efficiency. The notion of craft, the craftsman, and craftsmanship are rooted in ideas of a long and deep seeded tradition in the master/apprentice relationship. In archaic Greece, both craftsman and apprentice were highly regarded. Demioergos, as they were called, were a part of the thriving middleclass that included, in addition to skilled manual workers like potters, also doctors, lower magistrates, singers and heralds. By classical times, however, the artisan’s honor had dimmed. As Aristotle declared in Metaphisics “We consider that the architects in every profession are more estimable and know more and are wiser than the artisans, because they know the reasons of the things, which are done.” Aristotle also abandons the words...