Design – Craft

Non-Conformist Chair. Eileen Gray – National Museum of Ireland

It is a subject that confuses many, what it is and why is it important? 

Design is the set of principles that moves an idea, through various steps to a result.  This may be a system or object that serves the needs of whomever it is intended for.  

The quality of many aspects of our daily lives is determined by how thoughtfully this is undertaken as design is many things. It includes the visuals in advertising, electronic systems, household goods, furniture, medical devices and how we navigate the motorway.

Craft Design as a term covers functional products and objects made in metals, clay, glass, textiles, leather and wood etc. Objects tend to be produced in-house in small batch production, with high degree of handwork in a quality finish. 

For instance, jewellery, or personal ornament, is design for a craft.  Jewellery dominates the body, whose structure dictates its form. Whether simple or complex the same rules apply.

While architecture encloses the body  Jewellery is described as intimate architecture. It is both structure and message.

These features influence the form taken with wedding rings, lockets,  brooches or badges with symbolic or literal messages.  All objects gather memories and associations over time. Jewellery is powerful in this regard due to the strong emotional benefits it is imbued with.

While the focus with jewellery is usually its aesthetic qualities, this is never at the cost of functionality. If, which does occur, aesthetic values override functionality, the work becomes a decorative or conceptual art piece.

Craft design, therefore, is an intimate part of our daily lives giving us an association with objects that contribute to it with a joyful experience.

Three silver Heart pendants.

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