first home away from Pittsburgh

June 29 [Fri], 2012, 17:05
agency to obtain commissions and generally promote artesanal work through a more sophisticated ‘arty’ image. 67
Also in 1987, the state-funded Crafts Council organised an exhibition entitled ‘The New Spirit in Craft and Design’ to change the ‘com dollies and macrame’ image of ‘crafts’ to a more up-to-date relevant representation that would promote designer-makers and their work. The association of crafts with traditional country trades had been assumed and encouraged until then by the Council for Small Industries in Rural Areas (CoSIRA) who funded the setting up of small out-of-town craft workshops to create jobs and boost the rural economy. CoSIRA promoted small workshop enterprises that were no longer considered relevant in an industrial era, only succeeding in turning crafts from rural working-class occupations into middle-class, almost leisure pursuits that could only survive with help from government funding bodies upholding the principle that like the arts, crafts were worth subsidising. 68
There is a distinct separation between fine crafts produced in studios and the craft skills employed in engineering workshops, or exercised on most building sites like bricklaying or joinery. 69 There is also a difference of prestige perceived in the sophisticated contemporary crafts that have aesthetic value but no functional purpose, in comparison with useful everyday utensils and implements like baskets, pots or hand tools. The latter category of vernacular crafted objects often derive their particular characteristics from regional contingencies such as available materials near at hand, climate and geographical phenomena. But traditional methods of manual manufacture no longer relevant in an industrial age take on a different significance when they are in danger of dying out. Crafts thus have also become associated with regional history as representative vernacular forms are valued when they became scarce and therefore precious. The interest in reproducing local crafts is not only for the pleasure in making, nor just for the intrinsic beauty
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