Monday, October 19, 2009

designer/maker & smart hands

Bag maker S. Stein describes the concept of designer/maker and smart hands in the recent October newsletter interview by Heath Ceramics....

Tell us about the importance of the designer/maker tradition — why producing in the US is so important to you and how you found the craftspeople you work with... Regarding US labor, it's not easy but it's the right thing to do if you can make a go of it — as in, compete in a market largely priced using offshore labor. When you experience, first hand, the work a small business provides to the people in your community, it reinforces these ideals more than anything ever could. I've managed to find people in New Mexico who actually love having their hands on their work. My stitcher crafts each piece from start to finish, which I believe contributes to the great pride and deep sense of satisfaction she feels for her work. We make a point of stopping to admire each completed bag — I feel this admiration, more than anything, makes craftspeople into the people they are.

What inspires you? Until I learned about a school in the Netherlands that describes a phenomenon known as 'smart hands' I really didn't know how to put words to my experience as a designer/maker — my hands actually know what to do once they hit the material. That concept alone drives my obsession to create stuff — a desire that I've had ever since I can remember. Today, I'm inspired by vintage everything, Art in America, black and white photography, Monument Valley and the combination of good materials and craftsmanship is simply irresistible to me.

images from S. Stein.


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