The practice of `handmade' in the contemporary designer-maker marketplaces of Melbourne

Adams, L 2018, The practice of `handmade' in the contemporary designer-maker marketplaces of Melbourne, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Fashion & Textiles, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The practice of `handmade' in the contemporary designer-maker marketplaces of Melbourne
Author(s) Adams, L
Year 2018
Abstract The stellar rise of the Designer-Maker marketplace in Melbourne from the early 2000's has been marked by a growth in the acceptance and appreciation of the validity of design and handmaking, a growing rejection of mass-manufacture and new modes of work. A new generation of practitioners who are rejecting of previous disciplinary monikers have come together under the banner of Designer-Maker. Not only are they handmaking, they are also handmaking in a 21st Century manner, engaging with digital design, digital tools, machinal methods of making, along with communicating through online communities and social media. Further, their handmaking is motivated by value sets such as local, authentic, socially aware, digitally present, experience-based, sustainable, at times nostalgic and rejecting of mass-production. These Designer-Makers have multi-faceted careers, one part of which is set in the Designer-Maker marketplace.

This practice-based research explores the concept of `handmade' using my artefacts (gift cards) as the site for the research set in the Designer-Maker marketplace. I reveal the shifts in my handmaking processes and how all tools and skills including digital engagement are now part of my `handmade' continuum. I also examine my philosophical rationale and aesthetic choices that form part of my practice as it has evolved over time. In a climate of mass production to hand make takes back control and maintains a connection to the knowledge of how to make. Being part of the Designer-Maker community, which aligns itself conceptually and culturally to the concept of `handmade' emphasises these particular value sets, in particular, that knowing how to make is important. The conceptual signifiers are the constellation of aspirational ideas associated the term `handmade'. The cultural signifier is the Designer-Maker marketplace itself, the locus under which these ideas come together and are played out.

Through practice-based inquiry this research reveals the nuanced nature of handmaking as understood by contemporary practitioners and it also offers an inside view of how the performance of artefacts shift and can be recommodified by the environment in which they are set, in this instance the commercial setting of the Designer-Maker marketplace to communicate the values associated with being `handmade.'
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Fashion & Textiles
Subjects Textile and Fashion Design
Keyword(s) Handmade
Designer-Maker markets
Textile Design
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Created: Thu, 11 Apr 2019, 11:54:07 EST by Adam Rivett
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