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A values-based direction: Overcoming an imbalanced relationship between the designers and craftspeople

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The paper presents ongoing research on the examination of craft-design collaborations and understanding of related design practices. To do this, a literature review in craft making and in design process is conducted. From this, three common characteristics of design and craft are distinguished, and these commonalities provide a basis for craft-design collaborations. However, there are also significant differences in terms of purpose, product, process, materials, and in the understanding of prototypes. In addition, the literature on craft practices shows that craft enterprises nowadays are strongly influenced by the market and modern technologies. Because designers are better at visualizing design concepts and have a better understanding of the market and technology, they normally dominated or even lead the collaborative process, which means there is an imbalanced relationship between the designers and craftspeople. Such imbalance raises another problem, which is how designers and craftspeople maintain an appropriate relationship and balance in their collaborative activities. Based on a second-round literature on values and crafts, we suggest that the core of design interventions should be the continuation of traditions and the conveyance of values, instead of catering for mainstream markets or offering rather superficial innovations.