August is Craft Month, it’s the largest annual celebration of contemporary art and applied art in Northern Ireland. The August Craft Month team have connected communities and events in every county and as you would expect we are there too.
The idea for The Designerie was born during the Christmas period in 2014 when Causeway Enterprise Agency teamed up with local artists and crafters to make wooden Christmas Trees out of old wooden pallets that were sitting around in the yards of businesses in the industrial estate where our offices are based. We set up a workshop in one of our units at Causeway Enterprise Agency and took on a pop up shop in The Diamond Centre in Coleraine. We really enjoyed the sense of accomplishment from making the trees ourselves and the people that bought them loved our trees so much that we almost couldn’t make them fast enough.
Everyone was so enthusiastic about the trees, asking how we made them, requesting trees with their own personal stamp on the design and asking us what else we could make. We quickly realised that people would probably love making trees and other decorations every bit as much as we did. We also very quickly discovered that we enjoyed the experience so much that didn’t want it to end with the festive season and so the dream of The Designerie was born.
We dreamt of building a creative hub, where people and artists could come together to create beautiful things and learn new skills while having lots of fun in relaxed and welcoming environment. It’s now 2 years since we opened the doors, over 250 workshops have taught new skills to over 1350 people, we now have workshops for hen parties, Birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations of all types. The Designerie is a vibrant, creative space where friends come together, strangers bond over learning new skills and our Designer makers share their knowledge and skills for the sheer joy of it.
So what does the future look like for Crafters, we found some amazing research carried out in the Netherlands, it was carried out by Arjo Klamer, Erasmus University Rotterdam;
With the advance of the industrial age and the subsequent emergence of the knowledge economy, crafts got marginalized in the economy. Traditional crafts were just that, traditional, therefore history and only interesting as part of cultural heritage. Utilitarian crafts (think of plumbers, housepainters, roofworkers, dental technicians and so on) continued to do their thing, but such work, at least that was the reigning impression, was intended for those who cannot do the intellectual work that a knowledge economy calls for. The educational systems in developed countries sanctified intellectual intelligence and looked down on manual skills. In the arts conceptual innovation had overtaken craftsmanship as the core competence.
All this is about to change. The creative economy increasingly calls for skills that are characteristic for craftsmanship. This shows in a trend in consumer culture that stresses authenticity and quality. Craftsmanship is to meet such preferences. Craftsmanship furthermore satisfies the need for meaningful work. Mastery provides a sense of self-worth. Politicians, therefore, are speaking about the importance of craftsmanship, and artists are re-evaluating the craft in their work.
Richard Sennett gave the intellectual community a wake-up call with his book Craftsmen (2008). The book has drawn attention among artists and scholars and has redirected the discussion on what constitutes craftsmanship, the relationship between crafts and arts, the importance of craftsmanship for (local) economies, for work and identity, and on consumer culture.
At The Designerie we are lucky to be surrounded everyday by beautiful creative products that have taken our designer makers hours to dream up and create. We also get to explore new ways of making things and watch our customers learn new skills in one of our popular workshops. The fun and laughter that fills the Designerie when we run these workshops is infectious and we are looking forward to welcoming our next birthday party and Crafty Hen Party.
You know how we love to bring you new products and ideas, so we are starting a new feature #DesignerieUncovered, watch this space.
Don’t forget our new online store, if you aren’t local you will still be able to get a taste of The Designerie delivered to your door, so get shopping…browse here
Thanks for reading
The Designerie Team x