Craft is experiencing a renaissance. Saturated with mass-produced goods, we long for the human touch in the objects that surround us. Unique crafts come to life as collaborative efforts of humans and the matter of the world – their forms and long-lasting quality a result of the bodily and the sensual merged into one.
THE HOUSE OF 12 CRAFTS is a year-long programme of cultural education reviving 12 selected crafts common in the 18th century Poland. The offer combines two aspects: a specialist tale on the past of craft guilds, seeking links between the past and the present day, and a practical part providing the participants with an opportunity to learn various craft skills: from ceramics through knitting, weaving, and wicker craft to engraving, carpentry and bouquet making. The programme combines various fields, inspiring tales, and unique practical workshops conducted by specialists in the fields. Old techniques are combined with the latest technologies and media. The programme as such refers in its form to works by Daniel Chodowiecki – a draftsman and painter born in Gdansk, who made the topic of crafts a dominant motif of a series of illustrations to his book Diary of a Travel to Gdansk in 1773, presenting manual skills as an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration.
Why is the modern world (re-)turning to craft? – Our belief that craft is a thing of the past is inherently wrong. The art of craft is all around us, but gets overshadowed by mass-produced goods. In developed countries, however, handmade artisanry continues to be immensely appreciated. This is also visible in Poland – we are ready to satisfy our need of aesthetic beauty and see the value, not only material one, of handmade products. We appreciate unique and ingenious objects made with love and devotion. We keep returning to the past and getting sentimental about things we used to see in our grandparents’ homes. Simple, smart, beautiful. Today, the most extraordinary designers take inspiration from the past – bringing together artisanal artistry, art, and design - says Agnieszka Baaske, designer, art-therapist, the initiator of the HOUSE of 12 CRAFTS and the founder of PRULLA.
Workshops organized in Gdańsk City Gallery have already attracted a considerable number of HOUSE guests willing to dabble in the art of craft.
The need to experience the living craft is evident. Especially so since our hands have an inborn ability to remember – we turn off rushing thoughts and let our imagination loose. Bliss comes. I believe that to engage in the practice of craft is to improve the quality of our existence - says Agnieszka. – We miss being part of a community and so, instinctively, we want to work in groups. To be able to create surrounded by a group of exceptional individuals and under the trained eye of a professional is nothing but pleasure. Also, we are often joined by mothers and daughters who just want to spend some quality time together. When I think about it, however, the utmost value of these workshops lies in their potential to pass on knowledge of practical skills that would otherwise fall into oblivion. Ours is the practice of preserving our cultural legacy. And there is a lot to be preserved.
Filled with emotions and tangible presence of the artisan’s hand, modern craft is a “living” proof of humans entering into a continuous dialogue with nature and one another.
The House of 12 Crafts dedicates one calendar month to the exploration of one craft:
JANUARY / dyeing
FEBRUARY / weaving
MARCH / ceramics
APRIL / embroidery
MAY / bouquet making
JUNE / tailoring
JULY / painting
AUGUST / photography
SEPTEMBER / herb cultivation
OCTOBER / wicker craft
NOVEMBER / knitting
DECEMBER / medal making
Coordination: Agnieszka Baaske and Aleksandra Ozga
Telephone: 501 520 149 / e-mail: email@example.com
photos: Rafał Mroziński/Trochę Fajny Fotograf