The world is driven by technology and automation, and there is a growing movement that seeks to combine the digital and artisanal. It is a movement that encapsulates innovation, creativity and deep appreciation for the handmade. In this week’s Entrepreneur Weekly, we continue to explore craft production, and how the modern world has impacted this industry.
The Digital Renaissance
Craftsmanship has been an intrinsic part of human culture for millennia. From pottery and weaving to woodworking and metal forging, artisans have shaped our world through their skills. However, the advent of technology brought forth mass production and automation, threatening the very essence of handmade craftsmanship.
But in the midst of this digital age, a surprising renaissance is occurring. Rather than being replaced, artisans are finding ways to incorporate technology into their craft. This fusion isn’t a compromise; it’s a rebirth.
The Marriage of Traditional and Modern
Craftsmen and women are not merely using technology to produce their art, they’re also leveraging it to enhance their creative process. Colin Porter, Technical Services Manager at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Incubator & Resource Centre (IRC) says, “Handmade craft items will always maintain a certain value once they are created with the level of quality and significance of the item.” Traditional techniques are being combined with digital tools to create masterpieces.
Colin adds, “As time goes on, we are seeing the world moving towards the use of high-tech computer-based technology in the craft production process.” For instance, a furniture maker might use computer-aided design (CAD) to perfect the proportions of a hand-carved table, ensuring precision while preserving the essence of handmade craftsmanship.
“Craft speaks to the kind of skill that the producers have and how they can fashion an item using traditional techniques which are typically handmade and use what we would call how level technology”, Porter says.
The introduction of high-tech computer-based design technology such as 3D printing, laser printing, cutters and engravers and other machinery will allow some form of quality, consistency and repeatability in the craft production process will lead to better quality and better finishes. However, it takes away the intrinsic value, uniqueness and individuality from the finished product.
JBDC Craft Incubator
“We at the JBDC have been incorporating technology for a while in our craft incubator. We have a laser engraver cutter which allows us to, with the aid of the computer to design, cut, etch all souvenir items,” says the Technical Services Manager.
He continues, “We use certain tools which may not be seen as cutting-edge technology, but are certainly key technology in Jewellery production, leather craft, textile printing, and screen printing.”
The Craft incubator is ideal for artisans at all levels who want to scale-up production in a well-equipped environment. Visit https://www.jbdc.net/services/technical-services/ to book your session today!
JBDC Virtual Biz Zone
The JBDC Virtual Biz Zone stages the second in its Craft Innovation Series titled Innovation Modernising Traditional Jamaican Craft on Tuesday, August 29, 2023 via the Zoom platform.
The session will be presented by Senior Lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts, Ms. Laura Lee Jones, and will explore areas such as the modern techniques in craft production.
Register now at https://www.jbdc.net/events/ .