Research Point – Crafts people

In my travels I have spoken to a number of artists and crafts people including a printmaker, a silk weaver, a milliner and a hairdresser. I have found that people who have made a career out of their art or craft generally fall into two broad groups. There are those who set out from an early age with the intention of working in the arts, and those who have previously worked in a professional role (healthcare, teaching, etc) and used art as a way of finding a sustainable work-life balance. At some point there has been a tip in the scales towards moving into their chosen craft full time. One thing they do have in common is a passion for their work, and a feeling of privilege at being able to work in their chosen field. It also seems that even those who set out with the intention of working in a particular field end up doing something different to which they originally intended. Careers have evolved through chance opportunities rather than a predetermined path.

Hairdressing may not be the first thing to come to mind when considering artists or crafts people, but I have recently found the avant garde creative hair competitions an interesting source of inspiration for three-dimensional construction and material (hair) manipulation. My hairdresser is always looking out for new influences and ideas, and in common with other crafts people I have spoken to, an openness to new techniques to try and incorporate into their style. In crafts in general I think there is an interesting dynamic in the relationship between traditional techniques that demonstrate a mark of quality in a specialist field, and a spirit of experimentation to push a craft forward.

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