Proceedings of DRS 2018: Catalyst;Vol 4
Design Research Society
Design practice involves several disciplines, and when the manufacturing process demands special skills, designers outsource the work to craftspersons. Traditionally, craftspersons make a living by taking orders and delivering handmade artefacts according to the designer’s prescriptions. In this paper, we ask the following: What are the essential issues emerging when designers outsource the manufacturing of their designs to professional craft practitioners? We present a case study in which aspects of sharing and experiential knowledge are analysed both from the point of view of the designers and the craftspersons involved in the making of artefacts for an exhibition. We found that having experiential knowledge of various materials benefits the designer and that material agency is an important issue in this process because the properties and production processes play a large role in the aesthetics of the final artefact. Multiple questions of authorship are raised in this context because of the aspect of outsourcing, and we suggest that this could be better reflected in the presentation of the final artefacts.
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