Craft of Use

Image by Paul Allister

Just because you own it, doesn’t mean you know how to use it…

This week the CSF online discussions are dedicated to the celebration of the craft of use! While most of us probably know what ‘craft’ is in a production context – the actions and outputs of highly skilled creative makers drawing upon techniques they have developed over time – thinking about craft in the context of using things is an altogether much less familiar prospect. Yet we believe that those same cultivated actions and distinguished, innovative outputs can also occur as people use their ‘stuff’. We have been exploring what this means for fashion through research called Craft of Use, linked to the Local Wisdom project.

The craft of use is a set of practical skills associated with tending and using fashion, it is also a habit of mind that affects our engagement with the material world and our passage through it. The ideas’ motivation is tied to themes of resource scarcity and flourishing: of living well – and more than that – of thriving, within limits. We think that we need to put as much attention into using things as creating them. Then opportunities for novel fashion provision and expression will be met by a kinetic and evolving engagement with using garments rather than consumption of new clothes.

We see the actions of the craft of use as a set of practices that combine us as individuals, our bodies, minds, garments, stories and skills. More on these can be found at the craft of use site and will be the subject of a day-long special event in London in March 2014.

Kate Fletcher and Katelyn Toth-Fejel