New Handicrafts Speak of Design, Innovation and Cultural Impact

Handicrafts are experiencing an authentic resurgence that goes beyond the topics of craftsmanship and folklore associated with the “souvenir”, which has hindered its development and value, although today the new crafts talk of design, new technologies and cultural impact.

“Handicrafts are more present than ever”, explained the honorary president of the Loewe Foundation, Enrique Loewe, in charge of presenting this congress organized by the Ministry of Culture and Sport and Fundesarte at the Lázaro Galdiano Museum.

“Fashion and crafts are culture of the first dimension,” said Loewe, who believes that “without crafts there is no fashion or design.

“The new crafts, contemporary and avant-garde explores the plastic expression of new imaginaries”, explained Raúl Blanco Díaz, Secretary General of Industry of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism on Monday during the opening of the congress “Contemporary crafts under debate”.

Crafts, a sector that employs 38,000 companies and 125,000 people, is the “new luxury”, adds Loewe, for whom fashion is “the reflection of society”, an idea also shared by Juan Carlos Santos, trend analyst, who assures that craftsmanship is “fashionable in all spheres” and that generates confusion.

The biggest problem for the development of this sector lies in its “controversial relationship with technology and innovation,” said Santos, who warns that several studies have shown that crafts are increasingly demanded by different consumer groups, including those who bet on sustainability, a more ethical society or a new luxury.

“Now, luxury is not about ostentation, but about mime and excellence in one’s work”, adds Enrique Loewe, who considers that luxury has become “more accessible, it has become more democratic”.

Avant-garde handicrafts, including design, have the greatest strategic value, since “they represent new ways of exploring new imaginaries and are open to new technologies,” explains Santos.

Today’s artisans also work to strengthen regional identity and promote a higher quality cultural tourism, “in addition to energizing and enriching local culture by recovering traditions,” added the director general of Cultural Industries and Cooperation, Ministry of Culture and Sport, Adriana Moscoso del Prado Hernandez.

Contemporary handicraft is avant-garde, open to dialogue between manual skill and the use of new technologies. “She is interested both in the expressive potential of the new materials and in the reinterpretation of the traditional ones”, according to Santos.

Handcrafted products, which emerge from the interaction between illusions, concerns and uncertainties, through a local gaze, “are booming because we are experiencing a great socio-cultural change with new values,” added Santos.

In this debate, the architect Tomás Alía emphasises the artistic dimension of contemporary handcrafts, while the designer Sybilla talks about the importance of the business dimension.

“Working with the hands is working with the deepest structures of the brain,” says Santos, who believes it is necessary to “move to sell crafts.

Author: Carlos Hauss (collaborator in the event)