Thursday, June 24, 2010

craft - design - technology

Working with wood I can't help thinking about the connections design has to craft and technology, especially when I'm trying to use CNC technology to cut a historically hand crafted material like wood, to enhance it's natural properties in a way that would be very difficult/impossible to do by hand.
Design combines craft and technology. The intimate knowledge of materials and the advancing processes which can be used to manipulate it are also opportunities for designers. The two problems facing a lot of aspiring designers is the time it takes to learn a craft and limited access to the advancing technology available. We can have the best ideas in the world but if we a) can't make it ourselves and b) can't learn how new technologies can be applied, then we have a very limited means to work within.
This got me thinking about how great designers can work across such a broad spectrum of disciplines, from cars to furniture to pasta shapes, how do they have enough time to research all they need to know?
One thing they probably have learned to do well, is rely on knowledge and skill which others have spent years perfecting. Participatory design, action research and co-design, are all based around the idea that the designer is not the one man band and that we need to involve the expertise of others in the process of arriving at our outcome.
I have spent hours in conversation with local surfboard shapers and read pages of online forums and web articles, all of which are hard to record and summarise but have been crucial to the building of my own knowledge base which then goes on to inform my decision making.

And as for that alaia... surfed it on the weekend and yes it is a lot harder than I thought, managed to get a wave but without the buoyancy of surfboards I am used to, it is like learning to surf all over again! I have some photos so will post some soon.

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