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Crafts and Community


Crafts and Community

Crafts and Community Empowerment through the act of making

Conor Trawinski

Minseong Wang

Ward Goes

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Crafts and Community


Crafts and Community

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Crafts and Community


Crafts and Community

Index 1. Introduction

p8

2. The Act of Making and Community

p12

2.1 The act of making

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2.2 On empowerment

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2.3 On Community

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3. Structure and Responsibility

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3.1 The structure of a modern crafts community

p21

3.2 The Responsibility of Status

p24

4. Empowerment through the Act of Making

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5. Appendix

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Asli Kiyak Ingen

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Neptun Ozis

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Kadir Has University

p44

Alexis Sanal

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Superpool

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Ercüment Ersöz

p56

Chemical workshop

p60

Tarihi Eyup, Toy makers

p64

Ezgi Aydinlatma

p68

Artin Anaron

p72

Ali Cindik

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Discussion at Cafe Gündaldu

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Creative Session on Community

p84

Creative Session on Play

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Collaboration O

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Eily O’Connell

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Crafts and Community


Introduction

1. Introduction

Craftsmanship, or the act of making, has the potential to be a means of empowerment. However this is only possible within the structure of a community. Both in a traditional and modern sense, community is about a way of living. But there is a difference between a traditional crafts community and a modern crafts community. Traditional crafts communities existed in order to support one another through the exchange of necessities. However with today’s industrialized mass production and consumption, crafts communities cannot exist as they have in the past. Modern crafts communities are not a gathering of various craftsmen, instead it is a community of diverse people with distinctive roles who have come together in acknowledgment of the value of craftsmanship. The modern crafts community is a group of people with visions and people with assets. The structure of a modern crafts community consists of the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist, and the Creative. The Visionary is a person who has an aspiration based on the potential of the crafts community. (S) he motivates the community to persevere, and provides not only the long term ideal but also specific goals within reach to maintain the momentum. The Advocate is a person who persuades third parties about the value of the crafts community. By means of publicity and networking, the Advocate rallies support and patrons so that the community can not only be sustained but properly appreciated. The Specialist is a person who provides the community with core resources in the form of hands on skill and knowledge. And finally the Creative is a person who realizes the potential of the crafts and comes up with ideas on how to bring it into a modern context. And it is through the collaboration of these people that the added value, which will empower the community as a whole, is created. Of course a person can play multiple roles within this structure, but it is only when all four roles are fulfilled that a modern crafts community may empower its members. In many collaborative projects between designers and craftsmen, the

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Crafts and Community

craftsmen (or in terms of the structure stated above, the Specialists) are not acknowledged properly for the value of their work. There will always be people who will have more ‘power’ in the form of education, networking or creativity, but having a lower status must not lead to less acknowledgement for one’s contribution. Since people with higher status are responsible for distributing the proper credit to the contributors, our ideal is to ensure that the people with such power contributes back to the community of which they are working with. We believe the structure of a modern crafts community consisting of the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist and the Creative is an ideal model in order to ‘empower through the act of making,’ and provides the possibility to properly appreciate the craftsmen as they are within a modern context. This paper is a summary on how the Crafts and Community project has led us to this conclusion.

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Introduction

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Crafts and Community


The act of making and community

2. The Act of Making and Community 2.1 The Act of Making Crafting or the act of making is something which gives people a sense of pleasure and pride in themselves. The ability to make, build or craft something using your skills and knowledge is an empowering experience. With the following words David Gauntlet summarizes some essential dimensions of this process of crafting, “the inherent satisfaction of making; the sense of being alive within the process; and the engagement with ideas, learning and knowledge which comes not before or after, but within the practice of making.”1 Not only is making an engaging and fulfilling experience it also usually involves some form of social connection at some stage within the process. It is through sharing the things which we make with the rest of the

world that we increase our connection both socially and physically.2 In this way we can see that making creates connections between people as well as creating a fulfilling experience for the maker. However we live in a world where huge amounts of mass-produced ‘stuff’ is available in your local shop. This means there is almost no need for people to make or craft things on a professional level anymore. When we look at Geert Hostede’s scale of individualism European countries are among the most individualistic countries in the world. Of the top fifteen most individualistic countries eleven of them are European.

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We are part

of a society that shops to impress, and as Alain de Button puts it “We often

shop to persuade people we are worthwhile, interesting people.”4 Instead of persuading people we are worthwhile and interesting through empathy, acts of favor, or creativity we do it through the individualistic act of consumption. This is a problem because, as we have already mentioned, crafting and the act of making are acts which bring a sense of satisfaction and self worth to people’s lives. A project called ‘Rotterdam Skillcity’,

which ran from the year 2006 to

2011 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, used skills and craft to empower the students of the city. Focused on the specific social-cultural and social-

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Crafts and Community

economic situation of Rotterdam, Skillcity tried to link cultural education and social skills so that the youth could be taken seriously for their skills and abilities. Henk Oosterling, the founder of this project, states “Eventually skill is a double edged sword: socio-culturally it gives the skilled person a certain esteem within his or her community - (s)he is taken seriously - and socio-psychologically it provides the skilled person with a crafty focus and

engenders a feeling of proportionality and a sense of limit.”5 Within this project he used the skills to integrate the students within a community and to create connections between students from different institutes. When people come together to collaborate on projects things happen which could never have been accomplished by one person on their own. ‘Collaboration O’ is a creative partnership stationed in an old industrial zone called Section C located in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Collaboration O arose from the desire of free and innovative collaboration between young creative entrepreneurs by sharing knowledge and experience, and currently accommodates 14 individual young Creatives. A leading member of Collaboration O, Sander Wassink states “when I was creating with somebody

something new came out of it that I could not have imagined.”6 He goes on to say that it is this process of collaboration with other people that empowers him and inspires him to do his work.

2.2 On empowerment The term empowerment refers to increasing the spiritual, political, social, racial, educational, gender or economic strength of individuals and communities. It often involves the individuals and communities developing confidence in their own capabilities. It encourages people to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to overcome obstacles in their life or working environment. Ultimately, empowerment helps people to develop within themselves or within the society.

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The act of making and also being part of a community help to empower people in different ways. However when both are put together people are given opportunities to empower themselves on many different levels. The act of making helps people to be satisfied with themselves, to be engrossed in the moment as well as to connect with other people. Communities help people to have an identity, to feel safe and to be a part of something which is greater than themselves. When the act of making and belonging to a community come together, people are empowered. They can take pride in their work because they are surrounded by others who acknowledge and value it. In this way we can say that the act of making has the potential to be a means of empowerment, and this is encouraged and furthered through the structure of a community.

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Wikipedia defines a community as a group of interacting people, living in some proximity (i.e., in space, time, or relationship). Community usually refers to a social unit larger than a household that shares common values and has social cohesion. In human communities intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may be present and common,

affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.8 (Here we would like to briefly state that the use of Wikipedia as a reference is

The act of making and community

2.3 On community

a conscious action, and will elaborate on it more when we discuss the role of making in modern communities.) According to David Gauntlet “to feel being part of a helpful and trustworthy

community can give a huge lift to people’s general sense of contentment.”9 When a community functions properly there are many positive effects for the individuals involved. It empowers most if not all of the people involved, and grants them greater power as a collective. The individuals generate social capital which “is the collective family of positive interactions between two or more people. When you affect someone positively, it builds your social capital.”10

The Role of Making in Traditional Communities In a

traditional

community being a craftsman was a necessity; a craftsman either came from a tradition of craftsmen or he had to produce crafts in order to support himself and his family. At the same time craftsmen played an established and important role within the local community. Thanks to this they acquired respect and could take pride in their work as well as making a living from it. The crafts were interlinked within local systems where various people specialized in making different things or providing different hands on services. In this way the members of the community could provide for each other so that they could function better as a whole. Take for example the great grandfather of Conor Trawinski, Willhelm Brommekamp. Conor, an Irish student in the Design Academy Eindhoven, is one of the three students who have participated in this research of Crafts and Community. Willhelm Brommekamp lived in Germany from 1922 to 1989, close to the Dutch border in a village called Hamminkeln. He and his family owned a farm and throughout his life he made baskets specifically for collecting potatoes. He made baskets for his own use but he also traded them with his neighbors for other useful objects or services. He might trade a basket for the use of a neighbors horse and plough for one day, or he might traded another for 2 bottles of schnapps. Brommekamp’s skill was very useful and in some cases even necessary for both himself and for his community. In such communities there was no question about knowing a skill or craft. It was given that each person

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Crafts and Community

within the community was good at making or doing something, otherwise that community would have been lacking in products and services they had available to them. In this context everyone was a craftsman to a certain extent and could take pride in his/her work as it helped both the individual and the community. Craftsmanship was once necessary for the survival of a community, therefore much of everyday life revolved around it. However now within the context of contemporary society crafts plays a different role.

The Role of Making in Contemporary Communities According

to

Joost Gehem, a member of Collaboration O of which we have mentioned earlier, a community can only stay positive when the members of that community continually take part in its activities. If people do not know what their role is or do not identify with the values of a given community the social

cohesion is no longer present.11 In contemporary communities traditional crafts and crafts people do not have the same role as they had in a traditional context. Contemporary problems get in the way of traditional structures. The Sishane region is an example of a community which is based on traditional values but nevertheless caught in a contemporary context. Sishane today is a small but extremely dense district in Istanbul, Turkey, just south of Taxim and close to the seaside that used to function as a port. Sishane is specialized in lighting and electricity, and there are numerous lighting shops throughout the area. Sishane was an old commercial centre in pre-Ottoman and Genoese times, due to its proximity to Galata Port, which was the main customs gate of the Ottoman Empire where all modern goods from the Western world entered the Empire. During the 1920s the need for new technology in society increased the importance of the electrical and lighting shops to the extent that the area became nationally known and its name synonymous with lighting products. But today the small-scale production community of Sishane is threatened by a rapid decline of commissions due to globalized mass production, and also due to the consumption oriented tourism being developed in the region.12

However, with its rich and flexible production infrastructure, Sishane has the potential to realize unique design ideas and to respond to the local design needs. In response to what is happening a project called Made in Sishane was founded in 2006 by AslÄą KÄąyak Ingin, an architect and researcher. This project aimed to get a better understanding of the network in the region, while also enriching the community with creative participation of designers, artists and architects. In this situation the Creatives become the mediators who can look for possible opportunities within the existing community of craft workers, and facilitate them in a sustainable way so that the craftsmen can produce for other parts of society as well for the future. Furthermore the Made in Sishane project “aims to help the habitants stay in their native land,

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to institutionalize their material culture (which is being rejected by the local


culture, and finally to equip them with social and economic toolkits of community empowerment.”13 Although it is not an easy task, Asli Kıyak Ingin is a Visionary and Advocate doing her best to help the Sishane region protect the infrastructure of the existing community by bringing it into a modern context. In contrast to the traditional crafts community of Sishane which is struggling with the change of times, DIY, or ‘Do It Yourself’ communities are a different type of community that began within a modern context. They are world wide

The act of making and community

government), to help them gain self-confidence via learning the production

communities made up of numerous local pockets which are connected to larger communities through the Internet and localized organized events. The skill level of the people involved is not the most important aspect of a DIY community; being connected through the act of making is what is important. Websites like Etsy or Instructables are two examples of a major platforms for DIY. Etsy is a website much like Ebay, where people can buy and sell things. However on Etsy only hand made objects are for sale. The Instructables website consists of huge amounts of online instructions on how to build anything from a camera rig to repairing a hole in your wall. Books like ‘Handmade Nation’ or ‘Knitting for Good’ are also influential literature that were born out of this movement. The core mentality behind these communities is well expressed in Amy Carlton and Cinnamon Cooper’s Craftifesto. Carlton and Cooper are the founders of the DIY Trunk Show in Chicago in 2003. Craftifesto: The Power is in Your Hands. Craft is Powerful: We want to show the depth & breadth of the crafting world. Anything you want you can probably get from a person in your community. Craft is Personal: To know something is made by hand, by someone who cares that you like it, makes that object much more enjoyable. Craft is Political: We’re trying to change the world. We want everyone to rethink corporate culture and consumerism.

Craft is Possible: Everybody can create something.14 In general nowadays DIY communities are working better than traditional crafts communities on many levels. Of course we must take into account that coming from contemporary culture, DIY communities have an inherent adaptability to the modern context of culture and society. But the reason behind why DIY communities work better is that they function within a structured community consisting of Visionaries, Advocates, Specialists and Creatives. Clearly stated in the Craftifesto, they have an ideal of empowerment through the act of making, and a strong set of clear goals which every participant can identify with. They utilize modern mediums such as the Internet and SNS services to connect, share and evoke interest.

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Crafts and Community

They have people with innovative ideas, and through sharing skills and knowledge demonstrate how to implement the ideas into reality. All in all DIY communities are an example of a community which is growing on a world wide scale and is successfully empowering its members. The act of making can also be abstracted or be knowledge based, and Wikipedia is an example of such a community. Wikipedia is a multilingual, web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based on an openly editable model which was created in 2001. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without being paid. And being a completely open source community, anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles. Today Wikipedia has become one of the largest reference websites on the Internet with over 82,000

active contributors and 19,000,000 articles in more than 270 languages.15 Since Wikipedia is a live collaboration, it differs from paper-based reference sources in many ways. Unlike printed encyclopedias, Wikipedia is continually created and updated, with articles on contemporary events appearing much quickly than in printed media. This leads to the fact that the information on Wikipedia can in many cases be less reliable compared to traditional sources of knowledge. However it is a powerful platform that demonstrates that though the constant exchange and generation of knowledge people can feel connected and empowered. So we believe it is a plausible source of reference, as long as you are conscious of the possibility of fallacy and are willing to contribute back so that the information being shared can be more reliable.

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The act of making and community

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Structure and Responsibility

3. Structure and Responsibility 3.1 The structure of a modern crafts community The idea that traditional craftsmanship can be within a modern context through a structured community has been established through our theoretical research and experience. Within all types of communities there are different roles, traditional and modern alike. But it is the difference between a traditional crafts community and a modern crafts community that has brought us to the structure of a community consisting of four distinctive roles; namely the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist, and the Creative. The traditional crafts community is based on a closed source structure, on the idea of exclusively protecting the assets of the community, such as the crafts and of course the craftsmen. As we have described previously, traditional communities consisted of many workshops that were closely related and even dependent to each other, and the majority of the members were crafts related; the masters, middle men and of course numerous apprentices. But due to industrialized mass production a community like this could no longer exist, or to put it more harshly there was no need for such a community to exist in contemporary society. This is not because craftsmanship itself has lost its value, it is quite the contrary. Refined skill and knowledge, both physical and abstract, are invaluable assets. It is the social and economical structure that has changed, making the traditional structure of trade and support obsolete. The traditional crafts community has lost its context within Westernized society. And while witnessing these communities disappear and people seeking different professions, this brought us to surmise that traditional craftsmanship itself is a thing of the past with outdated value. But in truth it is not the value of the crafts that is in doubt. It is the structure of the community that used to sustain the crafts that needs to be reformed. A modern crafts community is no longer a gathering of numerous craftsmen and their workshops. It is a gathering of people with a vision and people with assets. It is also a potential means of getting people together to empower themselves and others. It is a structured community consisting of various people that play a distinctive role which allows the community to not only

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Crafts and Community

exist but ultimately empower the members of the community. And it is within this structure the craftsman can play a vital role as the source of raw values, and is rightfully acknowledge for the values (s)he brings to the community as well. For a modern crafts community to function properly there are four roles to be fulfilled, the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist, and the Creative. These four titles are a means of defining a quality, so it is possible for a person to play multiple roles. Visionary and Advocate, Specialist and Creative, and so on. Our argument is that it is only within the structure of a community which has all four qualities that a modern crafts community can exist as a vessel of empowerment.

The Visionary The

Visionary is a person who has an ideal about the

community. It is a person who acknowledges the possibilities of collaboration and has a vision of empowerment. In a sense it is a leader figure; a person who can set goals, organize a society, and recognize the value of people and assets. It is a figure who motivates the group and continuously reminds the community of its raison d’être. So it is important that the Visionary truly has a vision, a long term goal that defines the identity of the community. And at the same time the Visionary must be able to set short term goals that are within reach for the community to achieve, and by doing so maintain the momentum to continue collaborating. Amongst the people we have met Alexis Sanal of Sanal Architecture and Sander Wassink of Collaboration O are good examples of a Visionary.16

The Advocate The Advocate is a person who interacts with third parties and continuously justifies the cause of the community. A good cause by itself seldom gets the attention it deserves. By means of communication, networking and promotion the Advocate tries to convince people of the value the community has to offer. And this is not in the level of just ‘spreading the word.’ The Advocate must persuade people to the extent that they truly acknowledge and respect the community. And it is the role of an Advocate to rally the proper support for the community, both emotional and financial. To get public support, to deal with the authorities, and to gather patrons are but a few examples of what an Advocate must be able to do in order for the community to be recognized properly. In this sense the Advocate is a person who believes in the community and what it has to offer, and is a diligent sentinel to that cause. It is a role that requires endurance; since most people will not be as enthusiastic about the community as the Advocate is, the person must find ways to overcome such obstacles and gather support. Like the Visionary, the Advocate also shares the quality of a leader, but in this case is also an activist since the person must persistently contend with reality. Asli Kiyak Ingin of the Made in Sishane project is a good example of

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an Advocate.


Specialist is a person who is deeply proficient with

a specific skill or knowledge. In this particular project Ali Cindik and Artin Anaron, the two master metal craftsmen that we have met in the Sishane

region are the Specialists.17 The core assets of the community are pooled from the skill and knowledge of the Specialist. The Specialist possesses profound qualities; they are the people who have the ability to transform an idea into reality, and the mediators who provide a living connection to modern history and the wisdom accumulated within it. It is worth noting

Structure and Responsibility

The Specialist The

that the Specialist is not a synonym of a traditional craftsman; it has been revealed through our research that an abstracted craft or knowledge is an invaluable asset that can be categorized as craftsmanship within a modern context.18 So if one considers the diversity of what the Specialist can offer, it is not difficult to imagine that it is the Specialist who has an extensive influence on the outcome of the community.

The Creative The Creative is a person who can see the potential of a skill or knowledge and translate it into a modern context. Free thinking and creativity plays a big role in this part, and when an understanding of the contemporary or a foresight of culture and society is added the Creative can come up with ideas that are innovative and relevant. And it is by collaborating with the Specialists that these ideas can be realized and have an impact on the world that we are living in today. We would like to clarify that a Creative it is closer to a mind set, or a way of thinking, rather than a profession. Anyone can be a Creative, and it has nothing to do with the level of the skill that the person possesses in order to implement an idea. The validity of the idea itself is much more important for a Creative, and this is why it is only within the structure of a community that such ideas can be freely explored and in certain cases realized through proper collaboration. Neptun Ozis and his project of his father Sadi Ozis are a good example of being a Creative.19

When the role of the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist and the Creative are fulfilled within a community, the act of making becomes a means of empowerment. The Visionary provides the framework and ideal for the community. The Advocate struggles to gather understanding and support from the world. The Creative provides the idea to create added value. And the Specialist provides the means to realize it. Within this structure it is important for each member of the community to understand what their role is, and also of the role of others. This means that there must be a mutual respect within this system, which leads to being able to share the benefits of the collaboration fairly at all times. In the beginning of our research we started off from a general critic on the current trend of using traditional crafts as an inspiration of modern design. We quickly discovered that our biggest problem was with the fact that the

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recognition toward the craftsmen were in many cases lost, hidden behind the name of the designer. We see this as a form of exploitation towards the craftsmen. Here traditional craftsmanship is pooled as a source of skill and knowledge, and later on the design is appreciated as something of modern significance. But still the craftsmanship, and especially the craftsmen behind it are not granted the proper acknowledgement, leading to strengthen the assumption that tradition craftsmen and their skills are an obsolete artifact of the past. This is an example of a Specialist without a proper community to support him/her, and of a Creative who is acting without responsibility.

3.2 The Responsibility of status Within a modern crafts community there is a need for structure. The structure consists of the four different roles described earlier; the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist, and the Creative. These roles together make the crafts community viable and complete. However in order to actually make the community sustainable and balanced, and to make the members of the community respect each other equally, there is something to be desired in addition to the argued structure. During our research we have seen communities that possessed the described structure, but failed to inspire and empower the members of the community as a result of their collaboration. And in this case it is the Specialist who suffers the most, because in many cases they are the ones having the greatest difficulty in adapting to the rapid change of environment. This results in craftsmen not feeling respected and acknowledged for their expertise. They struggle to find their own meaning within a new system.

Acknowledging the Specialist Made

in Sishane of Istanbul is a good

example of a project aiming to achieve the structure of a modern crafts community. While the project officially made it clear what the vision and intent of the movement was through statements and publications, Asli Kiyak Ingin was actively advocating the cause of the movement to the Turkish society. The master craftsmen of Sishane provided the skills, and through various projects of inviting designers to collaborate with the craftsmen they tried to demonstrate the potential value. Through Made in Sishane the roles are fulfilled, but unfortunately the community is not yet in balance. This is due to of course the breach between an ideal and reality. On many different levels the outside system is working against the old system of the traditional community, thus bringing it into a modern context is easier said than done. The region, which was once prominent for its history of skilled handwork, has been going through a massive social-economic change over the last three decades. Crafts workshops and small-scale production facilities have been

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moving away to industrial areas that are located outside the city centre of


outskirts of the city are much more efficient and cheaper. One shop owner who has been suppling metal half products in Sishane was positive about this change, explaining that the industrial infrastructure which once was in Sishane has already moved away, and to go against the current tide of transforming Sishane into a region of tourism and recreation just to preserve

the past is merely a nostalgic notion.20 And it is the voice of the craftsmen like Artin and Ali that are totally lost amongst this tsunami of events.

Structure and Responsibility

Istanbul. It is a pragmatic change because producing and crafting on the

About the changes in Sishane, Gregers Tang Thomsen, founder and lead designer of the international interdisciplinary design studio Superpool, states “Of course we are also part of this diversification, the cool young creatives moved in, they got kicked out.” Superpool’s studio is located close to the sea just next to the Sishane region. As a young designer he feels the tension in the area every day. His partner and co-designer Selva Gurdogan argues that this change is due to the way the different municipalities within the city of Istanbul structure their systems, “The transformation in the city works top-down, we would prefer that somehow the neighborhood can also define their future.” According to Gurdogan, in this top-down system money, power and status are dominant when it comes to making decisions. Investors that bid and start projects in the region are influencing the areas future. Since they do not take part in the local community, they do not realize what kind of major effect their

projects have on the inhabitants community.21 This implies that although the municipality determines the direction of where the Sishane region is heading towards, they do not know what is needed in the neighborhood from a bottom-up perspective. This is the reason why Asli Kiyak Ingin, who we consider to be playing the role of the Advocate for the crafts community of Sishane, is having difficulties in gaining support for the preservation of the crafts community in the region. There lacks a shared vision with ‘the top of the chain.’ In order for the crafts community of Sishane to be brought into a modern context the regions municipality must also be a Visionary, which has an ideal about how the crafts community could be implemented as a part of the current change. This is exactly why the Made in Sishane project, and the activities of Kiyak Ingin as an Advocate is invaluable. She is providing ideas on how this could be possible and is arguing that there be a framework for the Specialist to be acknowledged in a modern context. For now the Specialist/master craftsmen of Sishane are moving away since they are not respected and acknowledged within their neighborhood. Since the craftsmen do not have the power, status and means to have a voice in the change, they are bound to follow the chain of events set before them. This often results in having to move away or in many cases close their workshop all

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together. Even if there are cases of collaborative projects between designers and craftsmen it does not help to strengthen the position of the craftsmen since the structure for the Specialist to be acknowledge properly is not there. The craftsmen must be acknowledged again in a modern context in order for them to continue their craft and transfer it to the coming generations. If in the past craftsmen played a central role within a traditional community, nowadays the importance of the Specialist must be understood and acknowledged within a community consisting of various people. Industrialized mass production has thought people to lack a proper acknowledgment towards skill and knowledge, thus leading to a lack of appreciation towards the Specialist and resulting in the dying out of crafts. The essential value required in order to change this is the responsibility of status.

The responsibility of status There will always be people who have more power because of their education, network or creativity. The key is to ensure the people with that power contributes back to the community they are working with. We realize that craftsmen are likely not to be, or become, part of this group, however being in a lower status should not lead to less respect and less acknowledgement for the work they do. The craftsmen play a vital role in the process of creating and making as they have the essential skills and knowledge needed for the production process to work. However, due to their position in the chain of making, and due to the fact that they are less flexible than others in the production process, craftsmen often struggle to be respected. This means that the person with higher status must be responsible for distributing the credit with all collaborators. The craftsmen supplies the rest of the chain with skills and knowledge. But if they do not have the ability to apply their skills in a modern context, that means they will not be able to create ideas for themselves. This is a case when the roles of the Specialist and the Creative are distinctively separated which makes the craftsman totally dependent on the Creative. If the Creative does not act responsibly from his/her vantage point of flexibility, the craftsmen will never be respected for their work. Azgi Aydinlatma is an example of a craftsman who tried to escape this system. He is a chandelier maker in Sishane who felt the urge to break through the system and take control himself. He told us that rather than being at the end of the chain of making as a craftsman, he decided to take a step up and concentrate on the assembly of products. Currently he has a small workshop in which he makes lamps for hotels and restaurants. He sources different parts from different craftsmen in Sishane, as well as from craftsman and factories outside the region. He now has the advantage of being able to switch the type of product he is manufacturing according to the current trend and adapt to the market. Now, unlike when he worked as a craftsman he is no

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longer totally dependant to others in getting work for himself.

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to share the acknowledgement and credit with those who have less power, that the act of making can function as a means of empowerment. That is why the responsibility of the Visionary, Advocate and the Creative is essential for a modern crafts community to be a vessel of empowerment. As Alexis Sanal argues, this is a very fragile and vulnerable system. Since the community does not only exist by roles and rules, and is extremely dependent on the honesty and responsibility of its collaborating members, creating a sustainable crafts

Structure and Responsibility

It is only when the person with higher status and power takes responsibility

community is indeed a very delicate matter. In terms of a modern crafts community, it is not so much about being a moral collective, than it is related to business and creating a revenue. Sanal explains, “I want to make it very clear this is not a favour system either, it is a collegial system... the relationships are not exploitative, this is not favours,

they are not your friends.’’23 We feel that the structure of the community is not based on working for each other, but based on working with each other and being responsible with your status. Only with responsibility there is empowerment. This goes for the community as a whole, as well as for the individuals within the community. When the responsibility of status is within the community, the acknowledgement will be shared with all collaborating members, and people will be recognized and adequately recompensed for the part they played in the process of creating value.

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Empowerment through the act of making

4. Empowerment through the act of Making In Eyup, Istanbul there is a small workshop of toy makers called Tarihi Eyup. There are 16 ladies in this workshop, and they are the only group of people in Istanbul who are producing the traditional craft toys of Eyup that date back to the 1950s and earlier. This project started off as an educational course provided by the municipal of Eyup in 2005, however after the training course was finished this small group of housewives took their own initiative and started a small business through this rediscovered craft. When we visited them they explained that there was a real connection to the material and themselves, and enjoyed using their hands to produce things. Furthermore they were proud of the products they were making, and felt extremely powerful from the things they were achieving. Serkan Bayraktarglu, a lecturer of Industrial Design in the Kadir Has University explained, “To empower them and to let them make their own decisions, to make their own money, that was part of the project.�24

The act of making is an influential medium of empowerment. And it can only be so through a community. And within this community there must be a structure consisting of the Visionary, Advocate, Specialist and the Creative. Finally there must be the responsibility of status within the community in order for everyone to be respected and acknowledged. Where there is responsibility, there is empowerment. For a community to be a means of empowerment, all four roles must be present within the collective. Without the Visionary there is no drive for innovation. Without the Advocate there is no recognition. Without the Specialist there is no content. And without the Creative there is no context. But we would like to make it clear that this is not a formula, and every community will have its own dynamics and diverse orientations. Within this project of Crafts and Community our focus was centered on the Specialist, or the traditional craftsmen. Since our interest was on how to bring traditional crafts into a modern context and restore the respect towards traditional craftsmen, the emphasis was on the value of the Specialist and the three roles were there to support the Specialist. For instance we believe that if

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Made in Sishane continues to gather support and manages to internalize the creative process by integrating local Creatives (such as the student that we have been working with from the Kadir Has University) into the community, it will be possible not just to preserve what is left of the traditional crafts community of Sishane but to bring it into a modern context, making it possible to take another step towards breeding a new generation of skill and innovation to the Turkish culture. We can not emphasize enough that this is only possible when the ones who have power and the means to design, shape and influence the crafts community, also take the responsibility to distribute the credit and acknowledgement. Then the community as a whole can benefit from what is being done and therefore empower one another.

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Empowerment through the act of making

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David Gauntlet, Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of

Creativity, from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, p24

2

David Gauntlet, Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of

Creativity, from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, p2

3

Geert Hofstede, Cultural Dimensions, http://www.clearlycultural.

com/geert-hofstede-cultural-dimensions/individualism/

4

David Gauntlet, Status Anxiety, documentary

5

Henk Oosterling, Rotterdam Skillcity: skill is will,

www.henkoosterling.nl/pdfs/rvms_engsum.pdf

6

Crafts and Community, Interview Section C, p92

7

Wikipedia, Definition of empowerment,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment

8

Wikipedia, Definition of Community,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community

9

David Gauntlet, Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of

Creativity, from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0, p123

10

Jono Bacon , The Art of Community (PDF version), p 06

11

Crafts and Community, Creative Session - On Community, p84

12

Made in Sishane, excerpt from “What is Sishane”,

http://www.madeinsishane.net

13

Made in Sishane, About ‘Made in Sishane’,

http://www.madeinsishane.net

14

Handmade Nation, Craftifesto,

http://trulyfinedesign.blogspot.com/2009/01/craftifesto.html

15

About Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About

16

Crafts and Community, Discussion - Alexis Sanal, Interviews -

Section C, p48. p92

17

Crafts and Community, Conversation - Ali Cindik/Artin Anaron,

p72, p76

18

Malcolm McCullough, Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand

19

Crafts and Community, Conversation - Neptune Ozis, p40

20

Crafts and Community, Conversation – Ercument Ersoz, p56

21

Crafts and Community, Discussion - Superpool, p52

22

Crafts and Community, Conversation – Azgi Aydinlatma, p68

23

Crafts and Community, Discussion – Alexis Sanal, p48

24

Crafts and Community, Conversation – Tarihi Eyup, Toymakers, p64

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Appendix

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Asli Kiyak Ingin December 10 2011

“So we especially put the name “Made in Sishane” to show the people there is a potential, there is a brand.” Asli Kiyak Ingin On the last day of our research in Istanbul, we sat down once more with Asli to share some final thoughts. Three days ago she started us down the path through Sishane, together with Açelya, Orcun and Melisa. For all of us in our group, including our Turkish friends, the past couple of days were an engaging experience and helped us see things that we have not known of. Along the way we have met master craftsmen like Artin and Ali and had a glimpse of their way of working inside Sishane. And through people like Selva and Gregers at Superpool we also shared a different story of working as architects and designers in Istanbul. The past four days equipped us with ideas, and to share those fresh thoughts for a final dialogue seemed to be a fitting way to finish our stay in Istanbul. The 10th was also a day Asli had a book launch of her book Made in Sishane, and that afternoon we listened to her story of Made in Sishane more in depth. But unlike our first meeting with her this time around we shared our own thoughts about the ideal behind the project and how it could be implemented in reality, and what we find interesting related to our own project of Crafts and Community. One specific and important thing that came up during this short session was the potential role Turkish students could play in taking advantage of the rich culture and tradition of Turkey and applying it into various creative processes. The various aspects that we have encountered in Istanbul and back in Holland may seem fragmented at first glance. but in truth are all interrelated loosely under our interest of Crafts and Community. And it was this theme that propelled us toward the people we have met and is the momentum toward the possibilities to come. For our project Crafts and Community this short meeting was the beginning of a new phase; here we started to reflect

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on our discoveries in context and began to weave a fine silk line through


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the massive web of information and interest.Sishane today is a small but extremely dense district in Istanbul specialized in light and electricity, located close to the landmark Galata tower. Sishane was an old commercial centre in pre-Ottoman and Genoese times, Due to its proximity to Galata Port, which was the main customs gate of the Ottoman Empire where all modern goods from the Western world entered the Empire. During the 1920’s the need for new technology in society increased the importance of the electrical and lighting shops to the extend that the area became nationally known and it’s name synonymous with lighting products. Small scale production regions within Istanbul are currently threatened by a rapid clearance due to the consumption oriented tourism development. However, these regions, with their rich and flexible production infrastructure, have the potential to realize unique design ideas and to respond to the local design needs. If this potential is valued and developed, these regions can go through an urban development process which evolves from their inner dynamics. This is the reason why Made in Sishane project was set up in 2006. extract from madeinsishane.net

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Conversation - Asli Kiyak Ingin December 10 2011

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Neptun Ozis December 10 2011

On Saturday the 10th of December we visited an exhibition by Neptun Ozis. Ozis is a Turkish designer that focuses on designing yacht interiors. Next to this Yacht design Ozis also runs a projects called ‘’Karre’’. Karre is a furniture and product design studio based in Istanbul, Turkey. Karre dates back to the 1950’s. Then Sadi Ozis, Neptuns father, designed the first metal furniture in Turkey in his own metal atelier. Ozis’ father was a craftsman that designed and built furniture, and next to that painted and sculptured. Ozis now leads Karre. He preserved and retrieved the most of his fathers work and wanted to reuse it and give it a new meaning. To do so he designed an exhibition, inspired by the furniture his father built by hand, many years ago. In this way got a new understanding of his fathers work and he started to appreciate it in a different way. The exhibition of ‘’Karre’’ shows the reinterpretation of the old furniture and puts it in a new and modern context.

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Conversation - Neptun Ozis December 10 2011

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Chairs by Sadi Ozis. Exhibition by Neptun Ozis December 10 2011

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Kadir Has University December 09 2011

On the 09th of December 2011 a group from the Forum 3 department of Design Academy Eindhoven met with a group from Kadir Has University Industrial and Interior design departments. Around 20 students and 6 lectures attended this discussion. We started the morning with some breakfast of course, and soon after Asli Liyak Ingin gave a short talk on the Made in Sishane project. The Sishane region is a prominent area in the center of Istanbul close to the Galata tower. Previously it was a thriving hub for electric lighting, crafts and small scale production however it is now in a state of change. The craftsmen, who have built up an organic production system and long standing community are slowly being forced out of the region due to a rise in land prices. Because of the region’s central location the government is encouraging a renewal in the area so it becomes more appealing for tourists. The Made in Sishane project aims to highlight this situation while also creating a connection between designers from all over the world and craft workers in the region of Sishane. One project which implements this is called “Into The Looking Glass.” This is a project where a computer with Skype was set up in three different workshops in Istanbul, Shanghai and Cologne. This allowed each workshop to catch a glimpse of the other’s work and as a result several new ideas were born out of it. For instance the german atelier was inspired by the method of lamp production in Istanbul, and the lamp producer in Istanbul utilized the idea of stamping their products which the german atelier regularly employed. As the morning progressed the students became more active and an open discussion started between the students and the lecturers. According to one of the students many jewelry craft workshops copy the items

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they produce which does not give them much scope to change and adapt


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to new situations. However they also met a jewelry maker who considers himself as an artist. His business is flourishing, because he is making new and different items, with the means and skill to change what he is making. Many crafts masters have the problem that they do not have apprentices to learn their skills from them. Why is this? Is it because becoming a craftsman is too specialized, or is it that the work is too manual for people to voluntarily do it? One craft master said he would not allow his own children to learn a craft because he wants a better future for them. It is clear that less people want to learn a craft, however it is not entirely sure the reasons for this. Are crafts people willing to let their work die out if there is no one the can pass there skill and knowledge onto? In on situation a jewelry craftsmaster was archiving his work so it can live on even if the skill itself disappears. Thanks to archiving of a toys produced in a region in Istanbul a group of women formed a new craft community. These women revitalized a traditional craft which produced wooden children’s toys. This craft had completely disappeared for more than 30 years and would not have been possible to revitalize if these toys had not been archived in a museum. As a result a project has emerged which not only brought an old craft back to life, but also created a community of women who now enjoy working with this craft and are now part of a community they are proud of.

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Discussion - Kadir Has University December 09 2011

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Alexis Sanal December 09 2011

lexis Sanal and her husband Murat Sanal are co-founders of Sanal Architecture which is based in Istanbul, Turkey. Together they have a firm where collaboration is an essential part of their work process. On the 9th of December 2011 we met with Alexis for a conversation on the topic of community and as it turns out she as got many interesting ideas on that very topic. Throughout her work as an architect Alexis focuses heavily on collaboration and community. She believes that she has a responsibility to the people she works with and that her key roll when working within a community is to transfer the knowledge down, collect it and raise the knowledge capital of that community. Small design groups and small ateliers don’t have the financial opportunity to take big risks so we have to support these people and advocate that they are not the investor. Similarly we have to mitigate the risk small craftsmen take. They have no legal safety guard and if, for instance they buy material for a job and that job is cancelled they have large problems. It is clear the idea of collaboration is very fragile and it requires individuals to step past their own self interest in order to see the whole picture. People who do this can benefit greatly from these collaborations however it is important that relationships are never exploitative and that their is monetary exchange when necessary. Her way of empowering people is through working with the built environment where she acts as the enabler in order to enhance people’s quality of life. The Computing Centre is an example of one project in which she and her firm implement some of their philosophies. In this project they were using colored concrete for the first time in Turkey and their was nobody with the expertise

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or knowledge needed work with this material in the country. They brought


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together teams of different types of skilled labors, like stone mason, form makers and antique restorers in order to overcome all the different types of problems which occurred along they way while also raising the skill and knowledge level of all the people involved. An other problem Alexis and her firm wish to address is the overuse of unskilled labour within the construction industry in Turkey. Throughout this project, and others they are doing their best to advance the development of smaller ateliers and encourage the larger companies to be more conscious of skilled labour. The Winery Project used all the available resources in the immediate community of the built environment. The building scale was big enough that large concrete parts were pre manufactured, but when it came to to finer work and the more crafted work all the people involved were local people. Similarly the metal work was also given to a local atelier. They made sure that the local people and the local economy was directly benefiting from this building. It was a very interesting conversation we had with Alexis and although we did not cover everything in this post I hope you can get a good overview of the type of work Alexis and her firm do. For more information have a look at their website and blog. http://www.sanalarch.com/ http://sanalarch.tumblr.com/

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Alexis Sanal Showing Sanal Architects Studio. December 09 2011


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Conversation - Alexis Sanal December 09 2011

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Superpool December 08 2011

On the 8th of December 2011 we visited the international multidisciplinary designstudio Superpool, based in Istanbul. Selva G端rdogan, Architect (born 1979, Turkey. 2003 graduate from Sci-Arc, USA) and Gregers Tang Thomsen, Architect (born 1974, Denmark. 2003 graduate from Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark) founded Superpool in Istanbul in 2006. We had an interesting conversation with them, touching on the work and projects they do themselves, and the situation in the region that their studio is in: Sishane. What do they, as young designers, think about the changes in the area?

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Gregers Tang Thomsen in his Studio - Superpool December 08 2011

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Discussion - Selva Gurdogan December 08 2011

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Ercument Ersoz December 08 2011

The last place Ali took us was an metal half product shop called Aypar Metal LTD. This small shop was the main supplier of various metal components within the Sishane area. Most of the products were parts for lamps, and were sold by the weight. There are currently two shops like this from Aypar Metal in Sishane, two in Küçükköy, and a few shops in other cities in Turkey. Küçükköy is an area on the north western outskirts of Istanbul, away from the old city center and were a new industrial zone is taking place. And it is about this region that Ercüment Ersöz was so fervently explaining. According to Ercüment the move of the lighting industry has already been going on for quite some time, and from a business perspective the infrastructure of an industrial community has already moved away from Sishane. Production, space, logistics, and even the city policy agrees to the current change, and Ercüment is more than willing to move away from Sishane and base their company were the ‘customers are now.’ Although Ali was willing to take us to other places as well, we decided to part ways from here since we had other appointments to honor as well. It is worthwhile to note that Ali committed a lot of time in walking our crew through Sishane and introducing us to the community he is based on. Although we were not customers in a traditional sense, what Ali demonstrated to us was what used to happen in Sishane; when a customer requires something from another shop in many cases the shop owner would close his own shop and guide the client to various places, accompanied by long talks and many cups of tea.

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Half - Products in Aypar Metal LTD December 08 2011

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Ercument Erzos December 08 2011

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Chemical Workshop December 08 2011

On Wednesday the 8th of December metalworker Ali took us to a chemical workshop. Here, metal was chromed and polished through a chemical process. In the workshop we spoke to the owner about the changes happening in the neighbourhood the workshop was in, which is the Shisane region. A lot of workshops already moved away to more industrial areas, since it is cheaper and considered to be more efficient. His workshops is one of the last that is still in the neighbourhood. We also spoke to a Nigerian immigrant who worked in the workshop. He shared his impressive story and his dreams with us. He gave us a new insight into the community we are studying within the enormous city of Istanbul.

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Chroming process - Chemical Workshop December 08 2011

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Chroming process - Chemical Workshop December 08 2011

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Tarihi Eyup Toy Makers December 08 2011

On Thursday the 8th of December 2011, we went to visit the Eyup area. It is a neighbourhood located outside the city centre of Istanbul. The area is famous for it’s history in crafts. This specific neighbourhood in Istanbul has a tradition in Toy making. In the past craftsman would settle in the Eyup Area, to make and sell toys. Although this tradition has died out and the craftsman left the area, the neighbourhood is still known for its past in toy making. We visited a group of energetic woman that initiated a project that is all about reviving the traditional way of toy making. They have a workshop in which they make the different toys themselves by hand. They make all sorts of toys, drums, tableware and dolls. They sell their toys in their own shop. The shop is located on the street on the street where once all the workshops were situated. With help form the municipality they seem to make small profits from the toys they sell. Though it can be questioned if they would still make profits without this support. Next to their presence in the neighbourhood through the shop, the group of woman also tries to involve the neighbourhood in their work by, for instance, organising workshops for children. In this way they hope to make the inhabitants more aware of the history of the neighbourhood. Interesting to note is, although the toymakers use old traditions as guidelines to their work, they do not feel this is most important. It seems the project was initiated because the woman had a certain urge to revive the traditions and history of the area. But when we asked about it, they explained to us, that essential to the group was the actual making and the joy they got out of that. Although the community aspect of their work is not most important to them

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the toymakers show us that craft and community do have a certain link.


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Though we can question if the toymakers are actual craftswoman, what is more important: they work with their hands and they get satisfaction out if it. Here we see a very clear connection to david gauntlet’s ‘’Making is connecting’’. Through their work as makers they have a voice in the neighbourhood, they connect themselves to the neighbourhood, and within the area, they also make people connect.

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Toymakers - Tarihi Eyup December 08 2011

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Ezgi Aydinlatma December 08 2011

Ezgi Aydinlatma is the first person we met to on “Ali’s tour.” He assembles and designs lamps, sourcing different parts from different craftsmen in the Sishane region as well as craftsmen and factories outside the region. He has been doing this job for over 20 years however he has no apprentice to take over from him. Ali Cindik makes all of the turned components Azgi needs in his designs. Unlike Ali however, Azgi is in a comfortable situation with his business because he has no local rivals and he has the means to change and adapt to new situations and markets. He designs all of the products which he makes and when the market doesn’t want the product anymore he deigns a new one. The Sishane region is a prominent area in the center of Istanbul close to the Galata tower. Previously it was a thriving hub for electric lighting, crafts and small scale production however it is now in a state of change. The craftsmen, who have built up an organic production system and long standing community are slowly being forced out of the region due to a rise in land prices. Because of the region’s central location the government is encouraging a renewal in the area so it becomes more appealing for tourists.. (for more information on the Shishane region visit http://www.madeinsishane.net/) For most craftspeople in the area this is a situation which is very hard to deal with, however Azgi the situation is actually helping his business. His ability to change allows him to supply many new restaurants in the region which are starting up as a result of the large amount of tourists. It is also in his favor that there are so many craftsmen doing simliar work in the area as he can pick and choose from the cheapest and the best quality. It is also important to note that Azgi does not solely depend on the Shishane community for his produce. Many of his ornamental products are laser cut in factory, which he later refines in his own workshop. For him the region is a community he can work with but it is clear that he does not solely rely on it. His

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situation is very different to the craftsmen like Ali Cindik and Artin Anaron who do not have the room to maneuver as freely in the market place.


Crafts and Community

Conversation - Ezgi Aydinlatma December 08 2011

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Lamps build by Ezgi Aydinlatma December 08 2011

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Artin Anaron December 07 2011

Artin Anaron is the first craftsman we met in Istanbul. He works as a metal craftsman for 42 years in the Sishane region. He is an extremely passionate and lively individual running all over his workshop to find photos, drawings and samples of his work to show us. He was climbing up chairs and tables to find us one drawing in order to explain to us how he had changed and upgraded the design of a teapot. Artin is a man who has pride in his work. His work varies from lamps to boats and everywhere in-between. His passion has been with yachts over the years and one he is very proud of is the “Britannia�. He also designed and built a new lighting system for yachts which was born out of the years of experience with the subject. He made musical instruments for a percussionist who lives two doors down the street. He recently made a teapot set with a dutch designer. The list of what he has made and who he has worked with is goes on. Throughout the discussion it was clear that he needs to collaborate a lot in order to do his work. For this he relies heavily on the community within the Sishane region for both consulting fellow craft masters as well as contracting new work. They do not have a formal system among the metal workers in the area however they do still meet informally on a regular basis in order to help solve problems or to get advice on how to correctly use a machine for a certain function. He also collaborates with designers, engineers, and architects helping them to develop their ideas into a direction which is feasible, however in recent years all of the collaborations mentioned above are becoming fewer.

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Conversation - Artin Anaron December 07 2011

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Conversation - Artin Anaron December 07 2011


Crafts and Community

Artin Anaron showing one of his products December 07 2011

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Ali Cindik December 07 2011

After our visit to Artin, Asli guided us to another master craftsman, Ali Cindik. Ali specializes in metal turning, and is capable of prototyping metal objects in small scale production. Nowadays there isn’t that much work for him, so he works minimal hours daily, but in the past he would have fulfilled orders in the number of hundreds or even over a thousand. Currently the majority of his work consisted of metal trophies, which he is suppling for a certain company. He gets commissions through contacts, so the reputation and network he has build gradually all his life in Sishane is an essential part of his profession. Ali was kind enough to demonstrate his metal turning for us, and what he demonstrated was a skill that required precision and strength. It was amazing to see him shape metal as if it was clay , and showed us how much experience he has in his craft.Ali is from the north of Turkey, and started is apprenticeship with his master at the age of 14, 57 years ago. He and his master were in the Sishane district since 1969, and Ali has been in his current workshop since 1988. Although he had worked together with his master for many years, today there is no one learning his skills from him. It is extremely difficult and dangerous; he has been injured many times during his life, and it is a commitment not may people are willing to make nowadays. Also some years back a tourist hotel opened across the small street in front of his workshop, and they have been complaining about Ali’s workshop ever since. Although it is not reinforced in any way, Ali feels the pressure to relocate from his current location, and sees himself moving away in the near future. The reality that the small scale production industry of Sishane has nearly disappeared, together with the fact that his work is totally depended to his connections; having to move might even lead to having to close his workshop altogether. Before we left his workshop, Ali offered to guide us through Sishane and show us other workshops the next day. We decided to accept his offer. And although we did not realize it at that moment, Ali was going to play an

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important role in our research. It was through his help that we learned many


Crafts and Community

things related to the Sishane region, such as how it used to function as a prominent lighting district, what kind of changes this area is going through at this very moment, and how that is influencing the few master craftsmen that are still in Sishane such as Ali or Artin.

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Conversation - Ali Cindik December 07 2011


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Ali Cindik - Metal Turning December 07 2011

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Discussion at Cafe Gündaldu December 07 2011 (I think) for your group up until know it was like Dutch students trying to do something and find something that will happen around your school, your experience and put it on a website. Here you have an opportunity to link the website and the work with other groups of students or people (in Istanbul) who are linked to this area. So I think it would be really interesting to make a combined scenario to really work together.’’ Serkan Bayraktaroglu On the morning of the 7th of December, an odd group of people started to gather in a small cafe right across the Galata Tower, a tower just north of the Golden Horn in Istanbul. Two teachers from the Design Academy Eindhoven, one teacher from the Kadir Has University, one Architect, and a number of small groups of students from both institutes sat down together to discuss about what might happen during the following four days. Amongst the numerous introductions and conversations, it didn’t take too long for us, the Crafts and Community group, to decide where to start. Asli Kiyak Ingin, an architect who is also organizing the Made in Sishane Project, explained her vision of connecting the master craftsmen of Sishane with the creative industry within small scale production. And since we were literally sitting right on top of that area, it looked like a perfect way to jump start our project. She graciously offered to walk us through the neighborhood and introduce us to some of the craftsmen as well. Also Serkan Bayraktaroglu, a teacher in the Industrial Design Department of the Kadir Has University introduced us to three of his students; Açelya, Orcun and Melisa. And it turned out that these three design students would play a vital role in out project, as they became our navigators and counterparts throughout our entire stay in Istanbul.

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Discussion - Minseong Wang December 07 2011

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Discussion - Serkan Bayraktaroglu December 07 2011

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Creative Session On Community December 01 2011 On Thursday the 1st of December the Minseong, Ward and Conor held the second of a series of three brainstorm sessions. The topic of this session was ’Crafts and Communities’ which is directly related to this blog. The main goal for the evening was to develop new ideas on building a community, specifically through the Internet. We started the evening with each person sharing their ideas about a community and Diede for instance showed his T-Shirt painting community called ‘’The Big Bug Collection’’. This led to a discussion about what a community should be to it’s members and what exactly it is that motivates people to join and participate in a community . What do they get out of it, and why is that relevant? What role does the founder play? Is it about passion? When is it common interest, and when is it community? After showing some Youtube movies about freerunners in Gaza, the question about what the possibilities of a community could be was raised. What can a community achieve? The final part of the evening was a discussion about how to design an online community, Ho to create a platform on which the community can land. Eventually some interesting, funny and creative ideas came up like our the creative planet idea or the little shredder etc.

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Creative Session December 01 2011

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Tiddo, Collaboration O - Creative session on Community December 01 2011

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Creative Session On Play November 18 2011 The idea for these sessions was born out of a discussion between Diede Gulpers and Conor Trawinski. We thought it would be nice to get several groups of creative/crafty people to come together so that they could learn from one another. We believed each group has their own way of being creative and their own approach to their work which others can learn from. Each of these groups lead one creative session where they can teach their way of working to the others. For the first round of this project we arranged to bring three creative/crafty groups of students and professionals together. On the 18th of November 2011 we had our first creative session with Tiddo and Joost, Diede and Eddy, and Minseong, Ward and Conor. Tiddo and Joost from Collaboration O lead this creative evening with the topic of play. The evening was held in the space of St. Twaalf. We started the evening at 18:30 with a lovely dinner and it didn’t take too long before the ‘play’ started where we got our heads into creative action! After a watching a TED talk on play by Stuart Brown we proceeded into 4 hours of creative exchanges. We discussed, made drawings, built objects and actually came up with some interesting insights and conclusions for Tiddo and Joost. We mainly focused on the feelings and state of mind when in the mode of play and the type of parameters to take into consideration when designing an object or interaction related to play. In general the evening went well. We we had a good atmosphere, there was a lot of energy and we all got the opportunity to work with some new and interesting people. There was a sense that Tiddo and Joost were in control throughout and they did a good job in guiding the group when guidance was needed. We are interested to see how we will fair in 2 weeks time.

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Tiddo, Collaboration O - Creative session on play November 18 2011

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Dinner - Creative session on play Novermber 18 2011

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Crafts and Community

Collaboration O November 09 2011

Collaboration O is a creative community which brings together young creative people. Together 14 collaborators share a space in Section C, in Eindhoven the Netherlands. However their collaboration is not only about sharing a space but also bout sharing knowledge and experience. There embers vary from furniture designers, to animation artist to graphic designers and fine artist. We met Sander Wassink, a founding member of the group in Novemeber 2011. He told is about the visions and ideals which both he and the Collaboration follow (which are mentioned in the video above). It seems they are a very positive group with many hopes for the future and concrete foothold in the present. For more information on Collaboration and the individual members visit the website. http://www.collaboration-o.nl/

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Crafts and Community

Conversation - Sander Wassink November 09 2011

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Crafts and Community

Collaboration O November 09 2011

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Crafts and Community

Eily O’Connell November 03 2011

Eily O’Connel is young Jewlery Designer Based in Dublin Ireland. She also works together with the Workhouse Studios in Co. Waterford. She composes beautiful creations with an eerie undertone. In her work she’s seeks to reference man’s disruption of nature through the creation of her Hybrids. She searches out natural forms and through processes of casting and assembling, re-combines them to suggest new organic forms that are both familiar and darkly unsettling. We met with her while she was exhibiting in Serrad Amsterdam. We had a brief discussion about the effects of collaboration on her work as well as on her daily life. She had some interesting responses and views. Have look at her video to find out more or visit her website: http://www.eilyoconnell.com/

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Conversation - Eily O’Connel November 03 2011


Crafts and Community

Jewlery by Eily O’Connel November 03 2011

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Crafts and Community


Crafts and Community

Crafts and Community

Text/Pictures/Edit: Conor Trawinski Minseong Wang Ward Goes

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Crafts and Community

Crafts & Community  

Subtitled "Empowerment through the act of making", this is an essay on the modern crafts community.

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