I grew up surrounded by craft, in a way I took it for granted. By craft I am referring to functional craft, handcrafted objects bought and sold to aid life’s everyday activities. If you needed a gathered grass hand broom you drove around for a bit until you came upon a trader, haggled then went on your way a sweep or two in tow. That grassroots level of accessibility to craft was just, and still is, deeply ingrained as a part of day-to-day life across many parts of Africa. And one of the reasons for my being passionate about craftsmanship & design.
I didn’t give my accessibility to craft much thought until I moved to the UK and experienced a yearning that I didn’t know I had until I started blogging about Africa’s flourishing contemporary craft & design scene. The more I uncovered the more I want others to know and the more connected I felt to my purpose and the need to express my own creativity, mainly through writing. Writing about exceptional craft & design by spotlighting the objects and sharing the stories of makers and designers responsible for what I was finding.
Spreading my interest beyond Africa I now find myself drawn to craft cultures from around the world. Culturally curious by nature I want to know more about how craft impacts culture, heritage, identity, and belonging, and how it shapes and impacts present and future.
I am truly fascinated with discovering how traditional crafts have evolved over time, and how new craft traditions are being created by designers and artisans conscious of the need to not only preserve their cultural heritages but also to carry them forward by adding their own creative voices.
Craft whether we are conscious of it or not is an essential part of our everyday lives. The objects we find ourselves drawn to say much about what we hold dear. And for me, that is appreciating the skill, time, care and attention to detail that goes into crafting the objects I choose to surround myself with.
– Tapiwa Matsinde