25 March 2006

Radical Craft. Fridays speakers

O.K. my photos could be better, but the text is good!

Not sure how others at the conference are getting such good shots as I was 'pulled up' and informed that photography wasn't permitted in the conference. So here are some from outside, its hot and very sunny.

Its been an interesting day in terms of discussion. Everyone I have been talking to has commented that in many cases the speakers are using language that refers to both craft and design as one and the same. The terms 'Craft' and 'Design' appear to be interchangeable. However the first presenter, Dan Neil, (automotive journalist for the 'Los Angeles Times') really hit the spot I felt. He described the constant emails and letters he receives from 'garage technologists'. He explains that these guys tinker away for the love of it, and because they are trying to get something to work, or because they think they can improve on something that already exists. These garage inventors usually have a problem that is bugging them. so they plug away at it until they solve it and get a result (sounds familiar). Neil gave us a few examples, one of which included a guy who was looking for an alternative to ethinol. He came up with butanol, a cleaner substitute, (hope I have the right spelling) and in order to test 'butanol' he drove his car half way accross the country with "a trunk full of this explosive fuel and a dream". Neil explains that the garage inventor was genuine and passionate. Neil then showed us a computer drawing of a futuristic automobile, that he says looks almost the same as a futuristic car of the 1970's. Will they ever be built? he says not because they are not connected with the real world.

Well I have lots more to blog but my battery is running low....so until tomorrow


  1. It sounds as if craftsperson, designer and inventor are inter-changeable terms also!

    Was there an implication that craft is a means of discovering and inventing? Or that craft is concerned with invention? Or was it simply that the process of craft, which is driven by a deeply held passion and curiosity, can result in invention?


    Sounds as if you are getting a lot from the conference Francis, and enjoying the blog.

  2. Hi Louise,
    Hey, I am getting the hang of this!
    I think there has been vagueness by some of the presenters around the Craft aspect of their work, although some speakers did adress the subject very well however in all cases there was usually great design discussion. But I think there is going to be lots for us to discuss when I get home.
    I'm looking forward to it!