Observing a craftsman as they manipulate raw materials with expertise, take them through several transformative stages and slowly morph them into refined finished objects can be quite an engrossing sight.
On Freunde von Freunden, we’ve been featuring stories on craftsmen from different locations around the world and looking closer into their environments of creation. To further explore these creative individuals that choose to go against the current of mass production with mastery and quality in mind, we begin a filmic journey into their processes in collaboration with Zeit Online.
Focusing on these inspiring people through a separate video series feels like an organic extension of our scope as we’re curious to see the action, stories and movements that are found beyond photographs to better experience the artistry behind objects. Making things by hand involves time-consuming processes that produce images most of us have never encountered before. We often fail to notice the magic that happens in between as we are more concerned about the end result rather than the method, effort and passion that goes into producing an object.
Noticeably, there’s a rekindled interest in quality objects that tell a story about their origins and the hands that formed them. The return to craftsmanship is not about being anti-industry but more about embracing heritage with an added contemporary perspective and preventing beautiful old techniques from becoming obsolete.
Through our FvF Crafts video series we choose to highlight craftsmen and artisans that still work in traditional ways using their hands and even a few masterful secrets passed down from preceding generations. We look into well-matured and age-old techniques that involve a tactile approach to making which is often lost in mass produced items. The individuals we’ll be portraying are preoccupied with aesthetics, the stories of objects and, of course, delayed gratification.
Craftsmanship is about quality and how materials reveal distinct stories and the passionate effort that’s been put into handmade items. It’s about the beauty of the tactile and a niche approach to product-making. Much like the Arts & Crafts movement – which adamant supporter of all things handmade, Sean Woolsey has referred to previously – the new wave of craftsmanship is concerned with fostering artistic taste, well-honed skills and a sense of accomplishment through creation and appreciation of beautiful objects. The people we’re portraying will show us the mastery that goes into making things and how they pour all their efforts in their meticulous journeys.
We’ll start with a spoon maker in Romania who carves traditional folk patterns into wood, then move on to an extravagant mask maker and a violin maker with a bucketful of stories in Berlin.