Why Heritage Craft IS sustainability

Why Heritage Craft IS sustainability - Prickly Thistle

Heritage craft is defined as “a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill, and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations.”

This is traditional tartan weaving. It’s been around for centuries… LONG before the fabric industry became a threat to human existence. LONG before ‘sustainability’ became a concept and something to strive for, because ‘sustainability’, as we understand it today, only exists because it has something to oppose… the profit-driven, linear process of consumption that has developed rapidly over the last century and wreaked devastating havoc on nature, and people’s lives.

At the origin, the purpose of craft making was not purely to survive in an economical sense. Artisans were highly skilled yet ultimately led by their materials, so the final piece was a consequence of that relationship - contextualised by the wider culture of production they existed in. Back then humans weren’t so complacent in their relationship with the environment and the concept of ‘disposability’ and ‘waste’ were far from prevalent. Natural materials weren’t the preferred option, but the only option and all of this fostered that culture of production which informed them heavily.

As crafters of today, the processes we use are rooted in these times. That is what makes it so challenging to exist in a different culture of production which undermines these traditional values, despite them running through everyone’s blood. Greed has corrupted it, but the sustainability ‘movement’ is fighting back as more folk wake up.

This is where we need to speak up. How can heritage craft be the ‘answer’ when it was around before the question…

The solution to the overconsumption-fuelled climate crisis is not revolutionary. It is not innovative. It is about memory.

Love Clare and the Team


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