Co-design allows the user to contribute towards the design and/or making process. Emergent technologies, such as 3D printing and laser cutting, provide the opportunity for customisation. Handcrafts also lend themselves towards user interaction, and techniques like hand knitting, crochet and macramé are considered therapeutic and can be done at home by anyone. When the user becomes involved it develops a sense of attachment, satisfaction and can slow down the process of consumption through participation in craft.
A shift in user attitude is needed, moving away from product disposal and towards longevity. The key to product durability is about developing an emotional attachment to something, which creates a desire to care for and repair, rather than dispose of and replace. Designers need to change the way they work, considering the end use of products to allow for a circular system to develop, that extends the life cycle of materials through remaking and reusing.
Handcraft around the world has been affected by the production of cheap mass produced goods and resulting in a homogeneous marketplace. Balance between mass production and craft, the fast and slow, is needed in order to move towards a more sustainable future. I want to embrace new technologies, but not forget traditional craft techniques; combining and contrasting the old and the new for innovative results.
Today we know very little about the majority of things we buy. By providing a narrative about the provenance of a product and sharing information with a transparent and authentic approach, we can tell the story of the supply chain and the people, places and materials involved.
Connecting the designer and maker through ethical relationships, produces the best results in terms of design aesthetics and social impacts.
Consumption and sustainability do not naturally work together, but I am questioning how I can use my design skills and knowledge to produce products that address human emotional needs, in order to achieve a long-term sustainable balance. I would like to design products that people connect with and to build a relationship between designer, maker and user.