The intention of the Arts & Crafts Movement was to protect and revive traditional skills using natural materials and placed the “master craftsman” at the heart of production and design. Aesthetically, the movement sought simplicity of form without superfluous decoration and recognised the nobility of unrefined objects manufactured by the skill of humans rather than machines.
As we move in to an era of renewed interest in provenance the feeling of history repeating itself is not lost on me. Ruskin’s views on sustainability are in essence the same as those now emerging in relation to our understanding of what ‘luxury’ means to us today. A burgeoning appreciation for honest creativity and artisanal manufacturing marks a return to the traditional values of craftsmanship, heritage, innovation and integrity which Ruskin advocated so passionately for over a hundred years ago. In an interesting article written by Nick Foulkes, for SPHERE Magazine, he points out that: “of course the essence of luxury...is traditionally about how slow rather than how fast things are: the time it takes to master the craft skills; the time it takes to source the rare materials; the time it takes the consumer to acquire the taste to appreciate the subtleties of the rare materials and time-intensive skill acquisition”
In a world where the pace of change is accelerating, its trajectory exponential, I find comfort in the knowledge that a thriving space, a quieter ‘underground’ luxury scene, championing traditional values in design and craftsmanship is once again reemerging. The challenge for this 'scene', of course, is to navigate its way through the cacophony that is the fashion world.
*Art Now and Then, Jim Lane http://art-now-and-then.blogspot.com