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Towards design hybridity: Negotiating traditions through contemporary craft making in Finland

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This article discusses how contemporary craft and design practitioners negotiate and apply ‘tradition’ in the materiality of creative making. By doing so, it aims to demonstrate how hybridization is crucial to an innovative renewal of traditional craft practice. With the data derived from two design competitions, the article proposes a new conceptual framework that unpacks the mobilization of ‘tradition’ in terms of three design strategies: the preservation strategy that concentrates on maintaining traditions, the application strategy that modifies and hybridizes traditions and the transformative strategy that subverts and changes tradition. The study argues that traditions can offer a point of reflection through the materiality of creative practice. Finally, it is concluded that artisanship today regenerates the new vernacular that redraws its own dependability and authenticity from the negotiations between the contemporary maker and the very materials that are being used in these negotiations.
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Keywords: craft making; design competition; design hybrids; design sources; materialization; product development; tradition; vernacular

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Turku, Finland 2: University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: September 1, 2017

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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