We work with producers of traditional crafts with the eyes of “what product they can make with their skills and knowledge which matches today’s and future needs? So that the products can sell enough for them to hire apprentices to pass them on.”
Have you ever wondered what kind of world we would be living in if all techniques and knowledge were passed on to current generation without disappearing? The world there are some people knows what the reliefs and mural mean all over the world? We know they existed. But even if we want to use the method or knowledge, we have no way getting them now. In our human history, there are so many civilizations have disappeared. Each time, human culture has lost great techniques and knowledge. How hard historians and archaeologists try, these will never be revived as freshness sense as in “My grand farther taught me this”.
Today, in modern society, you might think it is impossible for some techniques and knowledge could disappear. We have cameras to keep photos and videos and other recording system. However, it is happening, every day. It easily could be happening in your family, right now. For example, family recipe passed on to parents to children, generation after generation. They say, if one generation did not receive the recipe, the recipe disappears from the earth within 2 generation. How about language? If there is a child who have a Japanese native speaker and an English native speaker as her/his parents. The child was born and grew up in out of Japan. Next generation most likely do not speak Japanese, unless the family made so much effort.
Not only in Japan it is happening, but we are in Japan, so allow us to tell the view in Japan. There are wonderful methods and materials to create beautiful things which passed on for centuries. Once in a few years, we hear a news “The last artisan of /crafts name/ has just passed away”. Some of our methods and knowledge are disappearing.
A lot of people say “Ah, well, but nobody needs the type of products”. Well, that is true. But what most of us even the some craftsmen and artisans themselves have not paid attention is “products(shape)” is not needed by modern days but “methods & knowledge” could be needed today and future. Once the method & knowledge are gone, when the people in the future want to revive them, they have to go through the same “try and error” like our ancestors did.
We curate and work with producers of traditional crafts with the eyes of “what product they can make with their skills which matches today’s and future needs? So that the products are sold enough for them to hire apprentices to pass method and knowledge on.” The artisans’ real valuable such as skills, methods and knowledge are not in something we can write it down or to be able to understand watching videos. Only way to pass them on is being taught, see, and do, person to parson.