A digital atlas of crafts
The Craft Atlas is an open access database about crafts and the artisans who knows how to make it. With this project, we support cultural diversity, transparency and a renaissance of regional production. It criticises the global mass-production system of fashion through easy access to these local production possibilities and attempts to redefine the connections between design, production and consumption to enable alternative revenue streams through local production.
It poses the questions: How to develop a contemporary form for traditional crafts? How can the crafts be reintegrated into present culture and production? What role plays the designer’s sense of trends and zeitgeist in this shift of maker culture?
This practical design-research-project serves to revive artistic textile crafts and create a network between engaged artists, artisans, designers and production facilities, that act locally and are connected globally. The database documents the know-how and skills of artisans, researches this artistic treasure trove and explores how to integrate it in contemporary design and production.
The Craft Atlas acts as a point of departure for both designers looking for artisan techniques and collaborators, educators transmitting knowledge to their students, and the enthusiasts wanting to deepen their knowledge about crafts.
We work towards a transformation of the current fashion system towards slower, more transparent design and production practices. our vision is to tie professional designers with skilled crafts people to celebrate the aesthetic beauty and heritage of crafts in combination with strong designer skills and output and thus enable a change in the mass production system.
Through access to local production possibilities we can enable local supply chains which act on a global level. This redefines the relationships between design, production and consumption and allows alternative revenue streams through local production.
The Craft Atlas was founded by Dr. Anja-Lisa Hirscher, designer researcher, and Cecilia Palmér, designer and technologist, with the support of an international network of independent designers, artists and researchers.
We started The Craft Atlas in 2014 with the objective to create a digital atlas of crafts to inform, inspire and provide resources about heritage and contemporary craft techniques and promote awareness for crafts and culturally sustainable design practices.
The idea for this project arose from the joint experiences in the field of sustainable fashion of the founders. Building on the experience of many years of individual and collaborative design activities and workshop facilitation, they felt the need to reimagining practices of design production and consumption to reach a broader audience and address scalability through multiplying local, artisanal and skilful production methods. Dedicated to offer alternative solutions to the current fast fashion schema, the idea arose after some joint upcycling design workshop in Helsinki, to develop a platform enabling collaboration between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design, allowing for locally embedded and skilful design and production of unique garments. An online platform which sheds light on the amazing variety of artisanal textile craft, to inspire fashion designers for local collaborations for high quality and unique design collections.
The project is currently not under active development but will continue to remain available as a resource to serve our thousands of monthly users seeking information and about textile craft techniques. We welcome your continuous user contributions so please reach out in case you would like to share knowledge about a craft technique or suggest changes.
We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project with their knowledge and content, financial support, ideas and inspiration, and those making space and providing us with a platform to share our vision and insights.
Last updated July 05, 2023.