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Towards making sense of self through emotional experiences in craft-art

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The goal of this article is to explore how young craft students make sense of themselves through emotional experiences in craft-art. The study employs the grounded theory (GT) method. The key theoretical concepts of self, emotional experiences and engagement in craft making have been chosen based on how they support or resonate with the data and analysis. The data consists of several types of material that was collected in three schools: portfolios, participant observation, ethnographic interviews and students’ diaries. The data showed that students’ emotions were strongly present in the craft activity. Emotions were related to the students’ management of the different stages of the craft process, the expectations towards the outcome, the students’ holistic bodily and mental feeling during the making and their engagement throughout the entire process. All these elements, reflected against pre-existing theories, indicate that while studying craft-art, the participants were able to make sense of themselves in many ways. The analysis led to the finding that when students experience emotional ownership of the process in making craft-art, pleasant somatic experiences, realization of their own potential, and the result of craft making is a meaningful product in which their personal interests are materialized, a positive sense of self can be achieved. This article is a part of the larger study that focuses on students’ craft making experiences in the context of Finnish Basic Education in the Arts (BEA).
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Keywords: craft-art; crafts; emotion; engagement; experience; grounded theory; self

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Helsinki, Finland

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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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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