August 18, 2010

Creative Roles: The Blender

Rushing to judge the past as bygone is premature. Past technology, and the past methods that accompany it, endure with the present’s hammering of “optimization.” How can creative approaches and production of yester-generations age well in today’s “remediated” setting? One example comes from Ilse Crawford, founder of Studio Elise, who more than demonstrates the past’s usefulness in her creative work. Her approach to craft is rooted in the lasting benefit of nurtured decisiveness that the past can bring:
“We chose a very interesting company called De La Espada. When we do partnerships, I’m very concerned that we work with companies that have real seriousness. It’s not just a question of getting things made for the right price. I think it’s about the people, and ultimately it’s a collaboration. In this case, it’s a man who has a company in Portugal. He’s rather young and he bought the company recently and he employed many older craftsmen. He’s kept, at certain points in the process, the skills of the older men who have developed such an extraordinary eye because they make wood furniture. Wood furniture is a particular thing to make because it’s a living material. One plank is not like another. So for example, halfway through the process, it might be cutting out the various components of a chair. Normally that’s done by computers because, that way, you optimize the number of pieces you get from a plank. He has that done by a man because the man will pick up pieces that would look beautiful together and that adds value. So it makes sense in the end. He’s created a really interesting model of how you can combine expertise and the necessary conditions of today.”
Studio Elise blends the present with the past because enduring ways of thinking and making command respect. The “old school” can make a perfect union with modern modes of creating.

Tap into your inner blender.

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This is the third piece of a series focused on the lively cast of characters whose roles make the play of Creativity. In case you missed the previous Creative Role, meet the Like-Minder.

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Typographic illustration, tailormade for this series, was done by Shawn HazenRead his Designer’s Quest(ionnaire).