The Michelangelo Foundation, an international NGO based in Switzerland, is introducing a living space where the work of artisans, workshops, exhibitions, and spots selling slow-made objects in Europe will be digitally curated. The Homo Faber Guide, the online platform, is launching in September 17th, and it will offer 650 talents and organisations in addition to weekly updates on current workshops and exhibitions.
The Homo Faber Guide has two main goals—to give visibility to artisans and to develop a discourse around fine craftsmanship. While the earlier aims to help artisans stay in the market, the latter attempts to revalue their position in our society. Alberto Cavalli, the director of the Michelangelo Foundation, explains that craftsmanship is necessary to preserve and contextualise cultural practices. “These artisanal activities of excellence do not represent the past, but the future,” for they create modern ways to interact with such traditions whilst passing on know-how to future generations.
The role of artisans as cultural keepers has been long downplayed. However, growing incentives for more conscious consumerist values are slowly bringing craftsmanship back to the spotlight. Cavalli convenes that the Homo Faber Guide aspires to nurture such values by circulating cultural narratives dealing with heritage and local environment. In that way, the digital space serves as a vehicle to re-enact the relation between manufacturer, user and environment. Luxiders exchanged words with three of the artists featured in the guide, who credited the uniqueness of their manufacturing process to their background and access to source materials locally.
Eneida Tavares—half-Portuguese, half-Angolan, materialises her cultural hybridity through her work: Angolan basketry embracing Portuguese ceramics. Although these two have nothing in common, Eneida explains, her project Caruma has set a deliberate kinship between unrelated bodies. “This mixed technique—earthenware and basketry—demonstrates the possible relationship between two different construction fields,” and asserts that her project is intended to spark intersectional dialogues.
The Japanese-born, Britain-based artist blends horticulture with art. His main training in horticulture has turned his garden in his source of materials: Kazuhito Takadoi applies his knowledge to grow plants with certain properties which are eventually dried in his studio, and sown onto paper. The final piece, informed by Japanese aesthetics, is the result of a synergetic process between him and nature. “Working with natural materials can be a little unpredictable so I feel that a finished work is more of a collaboration between Nature and me,” he explains.
Formed by Erika Kristofersson and Ammy Olofsson, the Glasbolaget follows traditional glassblowing processes to create glass crafts available at their studio in Sweden. The collective works with recycled glass that cannot be mixed with other recycled stuff but which can be easily melted and blowed. The duo affirms that, as active feminists, they feel is important to involve sustainable processes in their work since “sustainability as well as feminism is about democracy.”
Stay tuned with the Homo Faber Guide to find out more about craftsmanship and local events, and if you can, support the work of artisans and be part of a more conscious generation of manufactures and consumers.
Main image courtesy of Eneida Tavares © Ivo Rodrigues