Cultural Niche and the Contexts of Craft, Design and Fine Art
Authors: Howe, Tony; Dillon, Patrick
Source: The Design Journal, Volume 4, Number 3, November 2001 , pp. 50-57(8)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Journals (formerly Berg Journals)
Abstract:There are similarities and differences between the contexts of craft, design and fine art. The differences are subtle but fundamental. Historically, the context of craft was utility and the context of fine art was aesthetic. In recent times, utility has become a characteristic of design; although craft objects may still have utility, they now more popularly serve aesthetic purposes. The context of design is fluid because designed objects are amenable to modification and change but still perform the same function. In contrast, the context of craft is less fluid. Like fine art, if craft objects change they become new objects.
A complex of human values, tastes, attitudes, social and cultural norms, and patterns of consumption determines the contexts in which craft, design and fine art objects are located. In this article, we draw on ideas from cultural ecology to offer a conceptualization of the contexts of design, craft and fine art objects. We use the notion of cultural niche to explore the dynamic relationships between people, objects and contexts.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 2001
- Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.