Can craftsmanship and technology go hand in hand?

Generally, we tend to associate the concept of craftsmanship with a remote era, the work by hand and the creative techniques with which it is performed. On the contrary, we tend to link technology directly to current events, development and innovation. In theory it is perfectly clear that these are two opposing concepts, but in practice there are many experiences that make us understand that they can coexist and even make our lives easier.

The world is evolving at an accelerated pace and in this context of the new digital era in which we are immersed, technology and robotics play a fundamental role. Not only have they become an essential tool in our lives, but they have also transformed and revolutionised the world of work almost completely. As a result, we get a huge technological leap in production.

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In this sense, many traditional trades whose work has always been linked to hand labour, have been disappearing over time or threatening to become obsolete. This is the case of blacksmiths, boatmen, sharpeners, etc. These trades in the hands of craftsmen are beginning to be replaced by machines with the implementation of employment automation, perform the same task more quickly and at a lower price, involving the destruction of many jobs.

On the contrary, this situation is giving rise to the appearance of new market niches, but also, although it seems incredible, many jobs that were once known have managed to be reinvented thanks to the support of new technologies. This makes us understand that many professions cannot be replaced by machines, mainly because of the over-programming at work of which we currently sin that prevents, in many cases, the professionalisation of tasks and services.

The scenario resulting from the cohesion of craftsmanship and technology is nothing but an opportunity to revive professions and professionalize tasks that have, until now, been limited to the domestic sphere. If we bring together the best of manual work, that of a lifetime, with all the good that technology brings us, why should we dispense with one of them, almost automatically, when we can have the best of both? The clear example is Telelavo, the first handmade laundry in the world, which in addition to having the most advanced technology for the treatment of the garments, has the professionalism of craftsmen who, with care and attention, are responsible for the complete laundry of all households: stain removal, washing, ironing and mending of seams.

Many professions of the past have now become very attractive and profitable business opportunities and ideas. So, without a doubt, it is time to put value, again, on traditional professions and, why not start by recovering the expert artisans in textile hygiene?

Each garment, like each person, is different. Therefore, we must take into account that not all of them can be treated in the same way, as is the case with the automation of employment, and cannot be subjected to the same processes. Different fabrics lose their properties or can be damaged when immersed in the household washing machine. In many cases, handwork becomes the best option.

By way of conclusion, the most modern technology continues to open up new horizons for development, but this does not mean that we should forget about specialized craftsmanship to avoid neglecting demanding methods such as those involved in textile hygiene, for example, and even more so in a situation where, after the Covid-19, its importance as a measure for maintaining our health care has become apparent.

Author: Adriana Toro, Interempresas