I wonder if you can help me?

I am on a quest to find a few inspired artists, creatives and business owners who are embracing technology and using it in particularly innovative and creative ways – both in communications but perhaps more pertinently in their product development and design work.

Who do you know?

The Art of Hand-crafted

I come from a long history of artistic influences, namely the family business as well as my own.
Charles and Patricia Lester’s  luxury women’s wear is beyond couture with each individual piece being hand crafted from fabrics  that have been hand painted, printed and pleated especially for each garment. Every piece is a work of art in its own right. Unlike other fashion houses, there is NO mass production involved. There are no samples. Each piece is often the only one like it in the world and the technical skills and craftsmanship that goes into creating them, are exemplary.

This and running my own creative businesses has taught me the value of creating exceptionally beautiful, carefully crafted works of art that last a lifetime. The items, if useful too, begin to develop their own beauty over time as they are used. Creating such things follows an ethos of sustainability that goes beyond a political righteousness, it is the antithesis of a culture filled with conveyor-belt consumerism where everything produced is throwaway tack that has no value to add to our world.

Era of Innovative Technological Developments

Technology is awesome. The inventions that are emerging every day are changing the landscape of the world as rapidly as our imaginations can come up with the ideas. As a result I think that we are going to see things that are going to surprise us regularly.

As an example, when we look at the way in which 3d printing has evolved in just the last couple of years, it is actually quite shocking. It has gone from printing simple objects with few moving parts to a whole car that can be driven within two days of the printer being started.

And that is just the mechanical stuff. We are seeing incredible developments in medicine with replacement bones such as parts of skulls and rib cages are being replicated to very specific dimensions pertinent to the individuals. Soft tissue body parts are being printed in bioplastics with the two melding together to form a single unit functioning as naturally as the real thing. How cool is that?

The Art of Innovation

As a family we are known for our innovative approach to creating wearable art often pushing designs beyond the usual parameters of expected limits of possibility. I certainly have never been able to be  contained by convention preferring to explore the immense potential made possible by combining different disciplines and skills often from other industries. It has been a great way to bring something new and different to my work. My stained glass, jewellery and textile art is not exactly the usual stuff you might see in every craft shop.

I am intrigued by technology. 3D printed garments is already happening being paraded on the catwalk at the couture shows. It’s potentially not that far away for something to be brought to our homes soon.

What is the future impact of technology on the art of hand-crafted?

The point is not whether 3d printing is going to take over our world or not, it is how technology can offer us opportunities for design development in ways that previously were deemed impossible. Open source and knowledge sharing is making ideas far more accessible and as a result we have to at least be aware of what is happening in the world and how it might impact us and our businesses.

Some will say that this technological revolution we are experiencing now is going to be like the industrial revolution where machines took over from men which resulted in mass unemployment.

To me, I see it as an opportunity to free people to pursue the more traditional crafts allowing us to appreciate the spiritual beauty and the value of items made by people, their minds, their hands and perhaps more importantly, their hearts creating something that has something so much more than a robot tooled object.

An object made by a person gives us a sense of connectedness, it has soul.

Technology has its place, it doesn’t have to take over. However, it can bring the ability to expand on the traditional pushing out the boundaries of creativity further than we could before.

I’d like to meet with people who are achieving this. The art of hand crafted does not need to be about crafts per se, but can include gourmet food, local produce that epitomises the flavours of the region – wines, spirits, foods as well as the local crafts and traditions that are relevant to the industries of the area.

My aim is finding people who appreciate the human connection to what we produce but can still bring technology into the process without losing the sense of the original art created. They include the things that cannot be replicated by machine because they lack the ability to sense the flavours, textures and smells of the perfect ingredients and component parts but can the process be enhanced by the use of technology?

If so, I’d like to find out how.

Who do you know who is combining the use of traditional crafts with technological innovation?

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