Artisan Connect


Date : 2011-04-04 13:34:25

Description International network for crafts development/ Réseau international pour le développement de l'artisanat/ Red internacional para el desarrollo de la artesania - RIDA RIDA NEWS/ MARCH-APRIL 2011 _________________ PRELIMINARY INDICATIONS ON RECENT TRENDS IN CRAFTS DEVELOPMENT All those involved in the crafts would like to contribute to a more dynamic development of this sector. Sometimes, we hear about a new idea which we could use, but this happens by chance and it does not tell us if we are in front of an isolated case or if it is part of a trend. RIDA intends to be more systematic on this important subject and to share ideas and events happening around us. In the first instance, we launched a consultation on some areas of crafts which are moving most quickly: marketing, creativity, training and fight against copy. The following indications are based on the replies received from 11 countries, mostly in Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru) , Asia ( India, Indonesia Thailand) and USA. In order to ensure that we are discovering trends, the examples given below need to be checked on a broader scale in all the geographical regions. Meanwhile, it can be pointed out that the prospects for change in policies regarding marketing, training and the fight against copy seem quite dim. The rare positive initiatives in these areas should, therefore, be given as references for all stakeholders in the craft sector: public authorities, private sector, NGOs, national and regional craft associations and the craft producers. TREND 1 : MARKETING . Producers tend more and more to go directly to the final consumer: in India, an increasing number of craft bazaars are held where artisans meet customers and develop a more progressive attitude towards selling and registering orders ;in Mexico, these bazaars of "Tiaguis" take place, at reduced costs, in large avenues and/or parks. . Participation in craft fairs continue to be considered by artisans as a favorite means to sell their products without intermediaries and to obtain useful feedback on consumer tastes and preferences. One notable example is that of the 'Santa Fe International Folk Art Market' (USA) where sales over one weekend in July 2010 amounted to $2.1 million US with 140 artisans from 45 countries. . Artisans show a growing awareness of the use of new technologies for direct sales( websites ,e-commerce..), although this marketing tool is still to be developed. . Collective sales through public or private outlets prevail more at the national level than abroad, with some notable exceptions such as NARAYA (Thailand) which envisages to establish shops in the main European capitals, a Department store of Djakarta in Brussels or the House of Moroccan crafts in Paris. Observation: The tendency to 'sell directly' to the consumer seems to benefit more those producers who can sell at relatively high prices. But this is not long-term oriented since a structured market with wholesalers and inventories at different levels is essential for selling bigger quantities, all year around and with a planned production. TREND 2 : CREATIVITY . Exhibitions, Contests and Rewards of master craft persons at the national level are increasingly used as a stimulus for innovation in crafts. In some cases (Mexico, Indonesia), Design schools/faculties organize contests focused on new ideas of craft items for big markets, namely the tourist market. . Crafts is becoming very design intense with contemporary shapes to traditional products. The process of innovation in design and colour combinations is more striking in the areas of textiles and accessories for fashion and furniture making for interior decoration. TREND 3 : TRAINING . Technical training through oral transmission generally prevails and there are no indications of a trend towards formalized training modules in the crafts. However, some initiatives seem promising: WCC Asia Pacific, based in Bangkok, is organizing seminars with the Education authorities to introduce crafts in the curriculum at all levels of education; in India too, a first step has been taken and information on the crafts of the country has been introduced in the course curricula of the 10th and 11th grades in schools to sensitize and make the next generation aware of the creativity, skills and heritage of this sector; institutes/faculties ( In Chile, Mexico) link their design students in research and product development with master craft persons. . Formal training in business management of crafts enterprises is nonexistent. In some rare cases (Thailand, Chile), seminars/short courses are organized, especially for those artisans participating in craft fairs. Remarks: The lack of formal training mechanisms can constitute, in the medium term, a serious threat to the very existence of many craft professions and to the transmission of specific craft techniques. Besides, it does not help the desired involvement of young people in the sector. TREND 4 : FIGHT AGAINST COPY . The necessity to protect original craft designs appears everywhere with the growing cases of copies on an industrial level, especially by China. In Yogyakarta (Indonesia), 300.000 batik craftspeople are threatened by industrially produced 'batik', illegally imported at very low prices. In Latin America, traditional graphic designs for textiles are indiscriminately copied on an industrial scale without any recognition or economic returns for the concerned indigenous communities. There are few signs of nationally established mechanisms for the protection of the concerned artisans. . Among the existing international instruments, the trend is towards the application of the 'Geographical indication/appellation of origin' system. Cambodia is the first to use this instrument for its special silk from Siem Reap; India has instituted the Geographic Indications Act and has already registered over 110 crafts. _____________________


Author(s) NameIndrasen VENCATACHELLUM

Added/Updated byIndrasen VENCATACHELLUM

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