Designer Makers can really struggle to survive in a world geared to mass manufacture, mass consumption, and mass obsolescence. Its hard to keep up with the pressure to craft quickly, cheaply and in large volumes. The assumption being makers charge too much when asking for a fair wage, and are pitted against a landscape of poorer quality equivalents been made too cheaply elsewhere.
Well, there is an opposite way of thinking about making.
To think about making slowly, ethically even politically. As the name suggests, ‘slow’ is a nod to craft and making in a way which is frankly the opposite of fast, high volumes and cheaply made objects. It embraces paced, quality making, which is unapologetic for its commitments to time-consuming pieces that well outlive its maker.
On the surface, to make slowly seems like an unlikely way to doing any creative practice, especially if you want to make a living from craft and making. Surely, you need to be churning out hundreds of orders a week right?
Well, what’s the cost if we keep at that pace? is it really sustainable? and what gives?
Embracing slow making (and makers) is underpinned by a recognition current patterns of consumerism and where they are leading is hugely problematic. At its core it is asking some tricky questions. About who makes the things we buy, where they make them, and how they do so.
It is about placing craft, dare I say even manufacturing, into an ethical backdrop too. One which gently nudges us, to think about the objects we encounter, the origins of materials, communities where materials are sourced and how they are put together.
These are facets we have come to think about how we craft our toys and where we draw our materials from. There is even a manifesto (published in 2008) to help guide the way.
The Slow Making Manifesto: Taken from Kim Johnson @ http://slowmaking.blogspot.com/
1.To strive for appropriate excellence in the making process
2. To make objects that enhance the life of the user
3. To know the origins of our materials, ensuring that they respect country; the communities who produced or harvested them and are from sustainable sources
4. To make objects that will last, can be easily repaired when necessary and are made using materials and processes that do not harm the makers, the community or the environment
5. To deal with our co-workers, clients, suppliers and sellers in an ethical and fair manner
6. To foster, utilise and pass on skills that enhance the making process
7. To enjoy and relish the way of slow making