Craft Platforms: Case studies 郭新：首饰与金属工艺-Xin Guo:Jewellery and MetalsJune 17, 2020 2020-11-15 9:30
Craft Platforms: Case studies 郭新：首饰与金属工艺-Xin Guo:Jewellery and Metals
Xin Guo : Jewellery and Metals
There are two types of works designed and produced: (1) when making some of her own artistic works, they are completely handmade. Because the handicraft emphasizes the combination of hands and materials and the gradual running in, the artist has to design and make by himself in the whole process; (2) when making some commercial products, she will draw with software, and then send accurate design drawings, process drawings and dimension drawings to the factory in Shenzhen for mass production with the help of machines.
The challenges faced by the digital platform are: (1) plagiarism; (2) designers and artists are not good at, have no time and energy to operate and sell.
Opportunities of digital platform: (1) let foreigners know the most cutting-edge development of China’s contemporary handicrafts, not just stay in the Qing Dynasty; (2) the platform should classify works, one is the works of contemporary handicrafts artists, one is the works of Arts and crafts masters, including commodities, creative products, and Chinese traditional unique handicrafts; (3) Provide services such as digital device sharing, reduce the cost and improve the use rate.
Figure 1: 郭新 Xin Guo
Xin Guo, director of jewellery and metal technology, School of fine arts, Shanghai University, who is also an associate professor and master tutor. She graduated from the school of art, Indiana University, Pennsylvania, USA, with a double master’s degree, majoring in jewellery design and metal art design and production, with a minor in ceramics. Now she is the director of jewellery studio of Academy of fine arts of Shanghai University, art director of Shanghai Shuangcheng modern handicraft art museum, vice chairman of jewellery Design Committee of China Gemstone Association, and vice chairman of jewellery special committee of Shanghai Industrial Art Association.
In 2003, jewellery metalworking art studio was established in Shanghai University, which is one of the first batch of studios built in domestic colleges and universities and has always been in the academic leading position. There are 3 full-time teachers and 1 technician in the studio, and the teacher technician dual track teaching system is implemented. The studio only enrolls postgraduates. Each teacher has 5-6 postgraduates. At the end of each semester, the studio will be open to undergraduates. Three teachers offer different courses, and the number of students in each course is controlled within 20.
Figure 2: 工作室 studio
Figure 3: （left）Dangerous beauty作品“危险的美”（right）Metamorphosis作品“蜕变”
“Dangerous beauty” was created when she was in the United States. She forged copper by hand, formed by welding, and colored by heat. This work discusses the proper distance between people with the contradiction between beautiful appearance and dangerous inner.
The “Metamorphosis” series of pendants show the battle, struggle pain, break, give up, leave and close among human nature, divinity and magic. The main technology is the combination of folk filament and comprehensive materials, which are silver filament and glass. This series is a flower silk work cooperated with Arts and Crafts Master of Guizhou intangible cultural heritage.
DIGITAL ‘TOUCH POINTS’
Use of Digital equipment
- Last year, the ceramic studio bought 3D printers, and the design department also has 3D printers, but the material is too expensive, so it is not often used. The school has limited funding for the studio.
- Due to the fact that most students are graduate students and have mastered a lot of digital things in the undergraduate stage, they are lack of hands-on operation, so the studio pays more attention to manual operation.
Use of digital software
In the process of undergraduate teaching, they emphasize the parallel study of handicraft and computer design to avoid the preconceived idea that jewellery design is solved by computer. They are hoped to know how to design by hand as well as by computer.
Use of website presence
Jewelry metalworking art studio does not have its own website. This is the website of Shanghai Public Art Collaborative Innovation Centre (PACC). PACC is also the innovation education base of Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts of Shanghai University. The content of the website includes art education, intangible cultural heritage inheritance, exhibition activities and news, covering all kinds of handicrafts.
Figure 4: Public Art Coordination Center (PACC)
Use of Social Media
- 微信公众号 Wechat public account
Figure 5: WeChat public account
（left）非遗传承研修培训——金属锻制，intangible cultural heritage heritage training – metal forging, https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/47VasLZ82ifQgureaYZa5w；
（centre）研究生作品展示，exhibition of Postgraduates’ works , https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/70IQ0gydbp-Y1TKq_rHD1A；
（right）非遗传承研修班——新疆模戳印花，intangible cultural heritage heritage Workshop – Xinjiang stamp printing , https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/RDaYlf7WZFWLvr-OT3wE6Q。
- Use WeChat and Tencent Conference for online teaching
- Students could provide their own WeChat QR code on the exhibition, and consumers can contact students for business.
- The studio is only a teaching institution and does not sell things, because selling things will involve discipline issues.
- Some graduates set up their own studios, and have publicity on WeChat public account and live broadcast. In general, sales are not in Taobao, but in some small groups of customers like WeChat group, in which they share their own design.
The challenges of applying digital platforms
- There are not many products sold online, because it is easy to be copied. Some students sent me pictures saying that there is someone who copied my works. I have a more tolerant attitude, because I am not in business, I am in education, and I don’t care much about this. I can understand that intellectual property rights must be protected in the case of pure business. Some international exhibitions do not allow Chinese people to enter, because copy is too serious.
- In the aspect of plagiarism, it is difficult to protect rights with the help of law in China, which basically ends in nothing.
Some students have opened their own shops and studios, mainly selling courses and experiences, and using courses to support their works. Most participants in the course are enthusiasts, basically white-collar, backbone and elite people, who have the ability to consume.
It’s very difficult to live entirely by the studio. It needs to be able to sell and provide after-sales service when opening a studio, but designers or artists are not good at these things, so it basically needs 3 or 4 people to work together. So they prefer to cooperate with the store, sell on consignment, and only do the creativity and front-end that they are good at. I personally agree to only do what they are good at. If they are not good at sales, they don’t have to do it. It consumes too much energy and is not easy to do it well.
The challenges of applying digital platforms
Propagandizing Chinese contemporary handicraft: It is hoped that this platform could let foreigners understand the most cutting-edge development of China’s contemporary handicrafts, rather than just staying in the Qing Dynasty.
Product classification: So the platform should be classified, one is the work of contemporary handicraft artists, the other is the work of Arts and crafts masters. There are not only commodities and creative products, but also things with Chinese unique handicrafts.
Provide digital equipment sharing services: Due to the high price, the utilization rate of digital equipment is very low. Through sharing, we can reduce costs and improve utilization.
The value of craft
Handicrafts improve people’s quality of life, which can make people not only meet the physical body, but also meet the spiritual level. In particular, the daily necessities of handicrafts can make people feel the value of beauty in their daily life, and enjoy “life” while solving their physiological needs, rather than just “survival”.
Many people think that art is a luxury, but it’s not so for me. Whether it’s craftsmanship or craft, their value lies in telling us that living is purposeful or meaningful, not just an accidental or meaningless physical existence.
The biggest challenge in the process of insisting on craft
The biggest challenge is to help artists sell their works and solve the problem of living. I think artists should recognize their two roles. As artists, they don’t need to consider the market when creating. The purer the better, they can express their ideas subjectively and sincerely. As designers, when designing in the face of the market, they must consider the needs of users and meet the needs of customers while satisfying their pursuit of art.
I’m not opposed to making commercialized things. Only when you have enough food, can you have the energy to do art. This has always been my advice to artists. On the one hand, I encourage them to keep their passion and ideals for artistic creation, and on the other hand, I also want to think about how to solve the problem of food and clothing.
The relationship between digital machine production and traditional handicraft?
As a handicraft artist, there is no way to replace the participation of his own hands, because handicraft is the combination of hands and materials. In this process, hands and materials slowly run in, gradually forming the final work, which is the same as sculpture.
I think the machine is an extension of the hand. When the traditional handicraft cannot solve the problem or need to make mass production products, we need to use the machine to produce.
There are two major development directions of handicrafts: one is pure artistic creation, and the artist designs and participates in the whole process by himself; the other is mass production. The artist should learn to draw with software, and make more accurate process drawings and dimension drawings for factory production.
- 另外就是协会和组织。美国的American craft council每年都会组织举办大型的展销会，手工艺人通过展会能够销售自己的作品，很好地解决生存问题。展会还会和高校合作，提供免费的展位，让高校的优秀作品直接面对市场。另外，协会还会通过展会、杂志、网站等，与各地的艺术中心合作提供各种课程、沙龙、讲座，帮助大众了解手工艺。
What is the difference between China’s handicraft system and that of Europe and America?
A big difference is that market system in the west has matured and their market segmentation has completed. Their system runs through from the college to the market, without too much disconnection. They can engage in art or products, and cooperate with companies. But in China, the system is incomplete, presenting fragmented and individual operation, which is the biggest problem. It’s not that our products can’t be sold, but that we haven’t found the right and specific customer groups.
In addition, associations and organizations. American Craft Council in the United States organizes and holds large-scale exhibitions every year, through which craftsmen can sell their works and solve the survival problems. The exhibitions also cooperate with colleges and universities to provide free booths, so that the excellent works of colleges and universities can face the market directly. In addition, through exhibitions, magazines, websites, etc., the association will cooperate with art centres around the world to provide various courses, salons, lectures to help the public understand craft.
Western exhibitions are set up for different groups. There are different exhibitions for customers with general consumption ability and high-level collection groups. Artists can find suitable positioning. Artists do not fight alone, do not lack the support behind, the system is very perfect. However, Chinese artists fight alone. There are too many associations, they are independent, they don’t play the role they should. The operation efficiency is not high, and the resources are not integrated.
Some arts and crafts masters are old-fashioned. They think that “teach apprentices and starve masters”, so they keep their unique skills, which is different from the teaching concepts of colleges and universities.
- Design and production: The teachers and students of Shanghai University jewelry metalworking art studio have two kinds of works in the process of design and production, one is artistic creation works, which are completely handmade. Artists should design and make their own products in the whole process。When making some commercial products, they will make their own version and draw with software, and then send more accurate design drawings, process drawings and dimensional drawings to the factory in Shenzhen, and carry out mass production with the help of machines.
- Publicity: mainly WeChat public account and website. There are exhibitions, workshops, competitions, artists and their works in WeChat public account of Jewellery and Metal Technology, School of fine arts, Shanghai University. The PACC public’s articles include exhibitions, art education, Heritage Inheritance, and so on.
- Sales: The studio do not organize sales. During the exhibition, if any audience want, they can contact the author through the QR code next to the work for business cooperation.
微信推文：郭新 ｜ 推展当代手工艺术https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/Y3Kkm2by1LPk-3nYd655wQ
Craftplatforms.org has been produced by the project research team at Queen Mary University of London, UK, and Hunan University, China.
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Prof. Nick Bryan-Kinns
School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science
Queen Mary University of London
London E1 4NS
Prof. Hao Tan
School of Design, Hunan University
Yuelu Mountain, Changsha