24 March 2006

Radical Craft Opening Conference

Its been a lovely warm evening in Pasadena to kick off the Radical Crafts conference. The conference itself taking place over the weekend in The Art Center College of Design. The venue is massive ( almost Rolling Stones concert proportions and FILLED with people) which is interesting. ( I wonder how many attendees and who?)

The most dynamic speaker to present was Adam Gopnik. He is a journalist who currently writes for The New Yorker and was previously the New Yorkers ' Paris correspondent'. His articles culminated in the book 'Paris to the Moon'.

Gopnik said that crafts are not ego driven, and that it is about making something that is useful for someone else. He says that there must be a need and a purpose. He suggests that Crafts need to abandon the 'Utopin World' philosophies, ( Morris and Bauhaus) because they failed. Instead Radical Craft is concerned with 'relationships', the maker, materials and the user. He says it is the combination of intellect, theories, hearts, minds and materials.

He simply presented good debating stuff!


  1. I find Gopnik's comment about "Radical Craft [being] concerned with 'relationships', the maker, materials and the user...the combination of intellect, theories, hearts, minds and materials", interesting.

    Isn't this the essence of craft and not just Radical Craft? What new dimension does 'the term 'radical' bring to the discipline of craft?

    What are your feelings on this Frances, now that the conference is nearly over? Have any of the other speakers/attendees commented on the term, or added to this working definition?

  2. Hi Louise,

    I think that you are right in that Gopnik presented us with the true essence of craft (as many of the speakers did) however the contexts they presented them in ie Constance Adams, and the materials themselves were injecting the 'radical'. I think that what is interesting is that the true essence was always there.