Last Wednesday, March 30th, The Seattle Design Committe held their first salon event which introduced this year’s theme FUTURECRAFT. This salon’s focus was centered on the subject of the hand within the greater concept of craft.
The event featured three different presenters and was moderated by Rob Corser of the UW’s architecture and digital fabrication programs. The salon was located at the Henrybuilt showroom, which provided a beautiful backdrop for the night’s discussion.
Each presenter reviewed their own feelings on “handcrafted” items, and what it means to the Seattle area. Shaun Peterson shared examples of his art and his crafting techniques. Much of his art is native to the area and to his people, but many of the traditional techniques have evolved into a more modern approach. Leonard Garfield reviewed the role of craft throughout Seattle’s young history in humanizing, civilizing, and beautifying, raising the point that much of Seattle was built as a type of “comfortable” city that was meant for the working class. He went on to describe how Seattle is excellent at the global and at the domestic, but has not really strived at being a major populous city. This means the level of attention perhaps, to the public realm has not really been in the forefront for Seattle’s industrial history of great invention and technical accomplishment. Finally, Rick Sundberg showcased his appreciation for the minor details of craft, even fondly referring to the nuts and bolts of a project, specifically citing a number of recent residences, furniture pieces, and the Wing Luke Asian Art Museum as examples.
As the night came to a close, Rob opened the idea of craft to the audience. A hearty discussion continued on the definition of craft, and how it fits into the modern world. Needless to say, a definitive conclusion was not reached, but it seems our theme for the year has inspired many designers to wrestle with the idea of what craft is, what it means, and how we can progress it.
We would like to thank our presenters: Shaun Peterson, Leonard Garfield, and Rick Sundberg. Also, a big thank you to the Henrybuilt showroom, and to everyone who came to our first salon of 2011. Please feel free to browse more photos from the night here. Great start to the discussion! Let’s keep it going!