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Über dieses Buch

This open access book explores the experience of working as a craftsperson or designer maker in the contemporary creative economy. The authors utilise evidence from the only major empirical study to explore the skills required and the challenges facing contemporary makers in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Drawing upon 180 interviews with peak organisations, established and emerging makers, and four years of fieldwork across Australia, this book offers a unique insight into the motivations informing those who seek to make an income from their craft or designer maker practice, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing them as they do so at this time of renewed interest internationally in the artisanal and handmade. Offering a rich and deep collection of real-life experiences, this book is aimed both at an academic and practitioner audience.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter introduces the larger context within which Australian craftspeople and designer makers, like their colleagues elsewhere across the Global North, operate. On the consumer side demand for the handmade or artisanal and increasing interest in making processes themselves, is, we argue, part of a wider pushback against the impositions of the digital into our everyday lives, that is an attempt at a correction or seeking out of balance now that we are a generation into the normalisation of digital communication and other technologies. The chapter introduces the research project the book’s findings are based on including the research design, methods and data that inform the discussions to come. It also briefly outlines the strength of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander craft and designer maker activity.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 2. Meaningful Making in the Contemporary Creative Economy

Abstract
This chapter introduces the people and their stories that inform this book, including the reasons behind their choice to pursue craft or design, despite the frequently precarious incomes to be made. One of the strongest findings to emerge in this study is the centrality of early exposures to making to later comfort with and motivation to give craft and design ‘a go’. How the makers connect their current identities to formative earlier familial and educational experiences is explored. These findings are then situated analytically within critical scholarship on the values of crafts-based practice today as they sit alongside the rise of neoliberal individualised work practices, including the normalisation of self-employment and microenterprise, with all the associated personal financial risk-taking this entails.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 3. Educating for Enterprise

Abstract
This chapter will provide a necessarily brief historical overview of the models of training available to support skills development for the applied arts in Australia, from colonial cottage industries to the educational experiences of the contemporary craftspeople and designer makers who participated in this study. In doing so, it will highlight significant contemporary Australian federal and state government political and economic policy agendas that have directly and indirectly influenced changes to the nature, form and institutional investment in education supporting the development of contemporary Australian makers. The second half of this chapter reports on the research participants’ educational experiences and sense of how well prepared they were upon graduating to establish and sustain a viable creative enterprise.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 4. Establishing a Crafty Making Future: What Does a Career in Craft Look Like Today?

Abstract
This chapter outlines the diversity of ways that project participants have developed and structured their working lives and enterprises. Within these conversations we will gain an understanding of the range of people, personal acumen, skills, and public and private investments that are garnered by these creative entrepreneurs to develop and sustain their practices. Through the lens of Milanesi’s three forms of ‘passion entrepreneurship’: lifestyle, accidental, and hybrid entrepreneur (Milanesi 2018, p. 425), why makers pursue this work, despite the often relatively low levels of income to be derived from creative self-employment, is explored. The chapter concludes with a reference listing of some of the key practical advice offered by the research participants.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 5. What Does ‘Handmade’ Mean Today?

Abstract
The phrase ‘designer maker’ is being employed increasingly in the contemporary craft and design marketplace, especially among those seeking to make a full-time living from their practice. It marks those makers who may undertake original design and prototyping themselves, but who, in order to scale up their production in ways not always possible for a solo hand maker, outsource some or all subsequent aspects of production to other makers or machine-assisted manufacturing processes. But despite widespread use of this phrase, some makers remain keen to manage the scale of their business. As a result, many of those craftspeople and designer makers we spoke to who were in a position to scale-up their production while stepping back from the making themselves were reluctant to go down this path. Elsewhere we have explored these issues in terms of balancing making income with quality of life, as well as in terms of the desire to be a maker, to be doing the creative work oneself, and thus not ‘get too big’ with the added pressures and responsibilities of being an employer (Luckman, Cultural Trends, 27(5), 313–326 (2018)). In this chapter, we home in more on what upscaling and outsourcing reveals about competing definitions of, and attitudes towards, the idea of ‘the handmade’. We also explore attitudes towards handmaking versus other forms of production, including outsourcing and the use of digital tools.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 6. Selling Craft and Design: The Cultural and Economic Intricacies of the Contemporary Artisanal Marketplace

Abstract
This chapter explores the contemporary marketplace for Australian craft and designer maker products as experienced by the makers and mediators in our study. What became clear was the ongoing importance of place—including localness and proximity—to the Australian market. Here emerges a paradox in the current relationship between craft and digital technology. Whereas the whole moment of growth in handmaking is in so many ways a direct result of the internet, with its greater access to materials, skills knowledge and (potentially) markets, it is the value of a face-to-face, hand-to-hand economy, we argue, that is clearly also re-asserting itself here.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 7. Craft and Design in an Age of Climate Crisis

Abstract
A key tension at the heart of artisanal capitalism is the desire on the part of many makers to work ethically as well as generate an income, but does the world really need more ‘stuff’? Craft practice has long had as a central tenet a profound respect for materials and this sensibility continues to inform much craft practice today. So too do ideas of workmanship, of quality and building to last which also have rich and long traditions in craft practice and are all the more salient in the age of ‘fast fashion’, accelerating disposability and climate crisis. This chapter explores how makers are working to negotiate these tensions and possibly even become part of the solution not the problem.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Open Access

Chapter 8. Creative Craft and Design Microenterprise in the Age of Social Media

Abstract
This chapter reports upon how makers experience and negotiate the increasing demands of social media, in particular the highly visual and stylised world of Instagram. While a recurrent theme through the research was how ‘easy’ it is to establish an online retail presence, the work involved in maintaining and building their brand was identified consistently as the real challenge. It is in this context that the demands of social media as a new normal baseline eating up time makers would rather spend making appear as part of the new administrative burden facing the self-employed and creative microenterprises. The chapter finishes on a final note acknowledging, but also problematising, the ongoing role of locality-based support organisations in the digital age.
Susan Luckman, Jane Andrew

Backmatter

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