Craft & Technology, can they go hand in hand?

Delve into the concept of Artisanal Fablab where craft and technology go hand in hand

It is undeniable that right now, we are in a very important chapter in the history of mankind. With the rise of technology, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, certain fears have emerged. Are we going to be replaced by robots? Will certain fragments of our daily life disappear eventually?

This might be one of the most discussed topics in the craft industry to date. In the past, craft was born from necessities. We needed pottery to cook, textile to wear and tools to survive. Today, we have everything just in one click. So in the modernized world with less and less craftspeople around, how can traditional craftsmanship survive? Will it be totally wiped out from human history? It is easy to imagine the worst case scenario, but may be we are not there yet. At least for now. 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent, 

but the one most responsive to change,” – Charles Darwin. 

The birth of Artisanal Fablab

According to Creative Thailand’s Trend Book 2020 issued by Thailand’s Department of International Trade Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, the key to the survival of craft is change. The Artisanal Fablab trend suggests that craft, especially in Thailand, still has a future if they can evolve. With the rise of the Makers movement, traditional crafts can be revived through the Artisanal Fablab which can empower craftspeople with innovative design and technological solutions, so that they and reinterpret and push their works beyond boundaries. This trend is not about turning traditional craft into a digital one, but rather fusing together craftsmanship and technology to create new works.

“Together, craftsperson and maker will add values to one another because of their different strengths in factors like human (thinking process), materials, and methods. Fablab relies on 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC milling and CNC router, and limited range of materials. Crafts use different media such as pottery, metalwork, weaving, woodwork, paper, and glass. Traditional and digital approaches will fuse together to bring forward future for craft and makers in the design industry.” – Creative Craftsmanship Trend Book 2019/2020

And if it is fun and efficient enough, it surely will attract younger generation to inherit their families’ craft practices. They designers have new designs, the craftspeople can add value to their works, the craft society will be pushed forward, and consumers have new products to enjoy. Everybody wins.

So how can we start? This trend suggests three directions to create synergy between craft and technology: using electronic components to add life to craft objects; implementing more computation to create more detailed work or save time, and adding more features to the craft works. No matter which strategy you choose, the core of the work should be the human touch.

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