Reinventing the Wheel

“The music of the wheel will be as balm to your soul. I believe that the yarn we spin is capable of mending the broken warp and woof of our life.” Mahatma Gandhi (1949)

We have unfinished business.

Despite the importance of craft in the ongoing human story, it is often demeaned as “backward”. Most other creative dimensions of life such as fine arts and music are recognised in their own disciplines of knowledge. While much has been written about craft, scholars are often isolated and located in other disciplines. Meanwhile, a generation of craft postgraduates has gone back to the studio or workshop, missing the academic culture. We can be stronger together.

What’s to be done? There is much work needed in putting craft on the agenda in broader discussions such as environment and international relations. Fortunately, there are technologies that now allow collaboration across a dispersed network.

To this end, the Wheel contributed to the Knowledge House for Craft. This is a place to build a deep understanding of the role that craft plays in the world. You can leave your email address here to be updated.

The Hipster Economy: A conversation with Alessandro Gerosa - Join Alessandro Gerosa in a conversation about his provocative new book, The Hipster Economy.
Efficacious Intimacy ✿ Learnings from the Jugaad Project - Join Urmila Mohan and authors to discuss a new book of the Jugaad Project that considers the material basis of religious and political beliefs.
Craft Communities talk on 19 February - You are invited to a presentation about an important new book on the value of craft in bringing people together.
A manifesto for craft in space design - Join our Reinventing the Wheel series for a focus on the value of Indian craft, featuring a manifesto of the Indian Institute of Interior Designers
Who owns craft knowledge? - As part of our Reinventing the Wheel series, Annapurna Mamidipudi introduces a new publication that questions the formalisation of craft knowledge.
When should knowledge be restricted? Cultural Intellectual Property Rights® for the Oma in Laos - Our Reinventing the Wheel talk by Monica Moisin on 4 July 2023 takes us to Laos and the role of law in supporting traditional artisan rights.
Rosa Taikon: Jewellery as a medium of struggle - Join us for a Reinventing the Wheel talk by Christina Zetterlund about silver jewellery, Roma culture and Swedish craft.
Follow the algorithm: New journeys through the world of textiles - As part of Reinventing the Wheel, India's MAP Academy will present a new platform that helps in discovering new artworks and textile objects based on artificial intelligence.
Sherwani: The influence of British rule on elite Indian menswear - You are invited to hear Toolika Gupta present her new book about the influence of the British Raj on what seems a distinctively Persian costume.
Bombay, batik & biotechnics: Gender and nationhood in modernist textiles - As part of our Reinventing the Wheel series, Antonia Behan, Vishal Khandelwal and Michael Mamp reflect on the careers of Ethel Mairet, Nelly Sethna and Ethel Wallace respectively.
Fold craft: Uncovering the Nivi sari - In our Reinventing the Wheel series, Kaamya Sharma reflects on the emergence of the Nivi sari as a national dress and how it demonstrates the craft of using as well as making.
The Mingei Film Archive: Unique stories of craft on celluloid - Join Marty Gross in a conversation about the challenge of translating the messages from the past in archival film.
Craft – Radical or conservative? Lessons from French and Chinese history - Our Reinventing the Wheel series turns to the changing definitions of craft in France and China. Forrest Pelsue and Xu Wu discuss their articles in the current Journal of Modern Craft.
Displacement: Crafts enterprises as empowerment for refugees and displaced people - As part of the Reinventing the Wheel series, Sharon Tsang de-Lyster reflects on the role of craft in the lives of refugees today.
The spirit of Japanese mingei in Brazil - Our Reinventing the Wheel series considers the evolution of Japanese craft traditions in Brazil, as documented by Liliana Morais and Silvia Sasaoka.
Alchemy in Japanese traditional craft: The transformation of light in Tamahagane forging and polishing - The eleventh talk in our Reinventing the Wheel series is in Kyoto, where Sachiko Tamashige introduces the traditional practice of sword and mirror polishing.
Anying CHEN: Craft revivals in today’s China - The tenth talk in our Reinventing the Wheel series goes to mainland China, where Professor Anying CHEN discusses many projects by his university that revive traditional crafts across the country.
Patricia Flanagan: Tracing the gestures of craft - In the ninth Reinventing the Wheel talk, Tricia Flanagan presents her work with craftspeople which explores the relationship between materials and making through gesture. 
The Art of Masks - The eighth Reinventing the Wheel talk focuses on the craft of protection, as featured in the latest issue of The Journal of Modern Craft.
Ezra Shales: The Shape of Craft - In the seventh Reinventing the Wheel talk, Ezra Shales considers how we should value craft found in everyday work and life.
The role of universities in the success of Korean craft - In our sixth Reinventing the Wheel talk, Hyeyoung Cho reveals the pivotal role of the tertiary sector in the modern Korean craft. This will open up a discussion about the role of universities generally.
One Village One Product: A global platform for local craft - The fifth talk in Reinventing the Wheel takes us to Senegal, where Joseph Ndione will introduce the One Village One Product movement, an international platform for rejuvenating rural communities.
Tiao David Nithakhong Somsanith: The relevance of royal craft today - The fourth talk in Reinventing the Wheel takes us to Laos, where Linda McIntosh will introduce the life and work of a master goldsmith who uses his royal background to uphold craft.
Navigating craft in Moana Oceania: Crafting Aotearoa to Tok Stori Tuesdays - The third talk in Reinventing the Wheel takes us to Moana Oceania, where Lagi-Maama will help us appreciate the customary context for craft.
The Crafts and Rituals of Scent in Arabia - Laila Al-Hamad opens a discussion about the role of scent in our cultures. She describes the objects and rituals that are used to made smell part of Arab life.
Aarti Kawlra: Exploring Craft as a Decolonial Option - You are invited to the first in a series Reinventing the Wheel which gathers craft learning from the wider world.