5
The Designer Maker

Designer-maker is a title or term recently used in some countries to describe someone who designs and produces items in small or batch quantities, usually operating as an independent or in a small-business context. The term itself seems to be gaining a growing international acceptance and is applicable to a range of design disciplines including textiles, furniture, ceramic and product design. Designer-maker practices have recently been the subject of an exhibition, Industry of One: Designer-Makers in Britain 1981–2001, at the UK Crafts Council Gallery, although the use of the term is somewhat retrospective. The term is also currently in use in Australia, as evidenced by the Designer Makers Tasmania Co-operative Society (www.designer makers.com.au). For textile designers and craftspeople the designer-maker model of practice represents a new and emergent career opportunity. Textile designermakers produce items across the range of home, lifestyle and fashion goods - for example cushions, scarves and bags. They may also incorporate other materials and technologies creating such products as lighting, room dividers, screens and blinds. Some designer-makers are truly interdisciplinary, covering more than one design discipline or marketing a co-ordinated collection of products. The term is a useful one allowing some distinctions between different types of business, and also helps to highlight the often complex relationship between designing, making and manufacturing in very small or ‘micro’ businesses based around one or two creative makers.

The term designer-maker is often applied on the simple basis that work produced is contemporary and stylish, but it is worth making a distinction between a craft approach and a design approach to making. In fact there is often a continuum between the two approaches. Traditionally craftspeople, while sometimes producing batches of product that are the same, will retain personal control over the individual making of the product from beginning to end. It may also be the case that their design vision is only reachable through a craft process, and that industrial manufacture or contracting out will not achieve the effects they desire:

Gillian Little produces a limited edition of hand-woven scarves in natural fibres and vegetable colours to create intriguing woven structures. Wool, cotton, silk and linen are skilfully worked together on the loom and later a burn-out technique creates a skeletal framework of fibres. (Jones, B., 1997)

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The Textile Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Part I - Overviews *
  • 1 - What is Textiles? 3
  • 2 - The Culture Place of Textiles 7
  • 3 - Perceptions of Fabric 21
  • Part II - The Creative *
  • 4 - The Textile Designer 37
  • 5 - The Designer Maker 49
  • 6 - The Craftperson 63
  • 7 - The Textile Artist 77
  • Part III - The Social and Industrial Context *
  • 8 - Globel Textiles Tradition 91
  • 9 - Ecology 107
  • 10 - Industry 121
  • 11 - The Role of Trends and Forecasting 133
  • Part IV - Related Disciplines and Studies *
  • 12 - The Buyer 145
  • 13 - Journalism 157
  • 14 - Science 167
  • 15 - Research 179
  • Bibliography 191
  • Index 201
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