Achieving a collaborative work between the artisan and the designer
From this small corner of the Internet, La casa de Freja seeks to show Peruvian craftsmanship to the world. In addition to showing in pictures the handicrafts of the different communities, I also try to spread a little, the history behind each handicraft work, our culture, the time and the love that artisans put to each handcrafted piece.
Artisans keep alive the tradition of both their community and the country to which they belong. In many cases, entire families are dedicated exclusively to continue developing and creating those pieces that are part of the folk art of each country.
From ritual or traditional art to souvenirs
Handicrafts (in this case, Peruvian and Latin American handicrafts) have gone from being a ritual and / or traditional art to being decorative objects for tourists, both national and international, who wish to take a souvenir of their experiences and their journey through these countries. For this reason, artisans make some modifications to their work to achieve a wider market. Since it is necessary to remember that craftsmanship is also an economic sustenance for these families.
Artisan and designer
At this point, the idea of a collaborative work between the artisan and the designer can create new products or new techniques that further enhance the craftsmanship of these countries and their cultural identity in front of the world.
Both the artisan and the designer have knowledge, technique and experience to exchange. The artisan is the one who knows the tradition and history of each artisan piece, the materials and their uses, the techniques. While the designer has the knowledge of developing new products, more sustainable materials and perhaps more efficient techniques to make the handicraft products. And I do not mean industrialization, or it would lose the very essence of the artisan product.
So, this collaboration between artisan and designer should be understood as a dialogue and a collaborative work. Neither of them is over the other and neither of them knows more than the other. I think sometimes it's difficult as a designer, to reach to the artisan without a previous idea of what we want to design with her/him. I understand that, because we already know in advance the handcrafted pieces that are in the market. And we can think of a thousand ideas of how to, according to us, "improve them". But rather we should reach the artisan with a blank mind. Let the artisan himself guide us, tell us the traditions of his community and show us his materials and how he works, and from there start to design together.
Nowadays, it highlights the support of non-governmental entities and design studios that are doing an excellent job of diffusion and collaboration with our artisans.
But this diffusion must be achieved not only at a regional and national level, but also internationally. It is necessary to highlight not only the aesthetic part of an artisan piece. But the history behind it, its origin and the work of the artisan and his community. Since there are people in the world who are familiar with popular art. People who know how to recognize the work, tradition and soul that artisans leave behind in each of their art pieces.
This small reflection is based on what I have seen and learned with artisans in Peru. I know that in other countries the collaborative work of artisan and designer works very well, and we should learn from them.
A joint task that is very productive but also a challenge!