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The time-space of craftsmanship

Journal article
Authors L. Eriksson
Joakim Seiler
Patrik Jarefjäll
Gunnar Almevik
Published in Craft Research
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 17-39
ISSN 2040-4689
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 17-39
Language en
Keywords time-geography, craft research, methodology, craftsmanship, culinary, crafts, forging, gardening
Subject categories Arts


It is hard to extract and articulate someone's tacit knowledge or craftsmanship into universal rules for all to employ. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for appropriate tools to be devoloped to support knowledge transfer in traditional craft fields. This article presents the use of time-geography derived from Torsten Hagerstrand. We use this methodological perspective to elicit craftsmanship as contingent on a skilled person's presence in time-space and their approach to interaction between humans and objects in light of the restrictions placed on them by the limitations of their capability, coupling and networks. The theoretical inquiry in this article is grounded on three cases of craftsmanship: table-setting, forging and garden attendance. The objective is to assess the suitability of time-geography as a tool for craft research. What are the advantages and disadvantages of time-geography with respect to craft? How does the method work in the different craft fields? The result is a collection of experiences and judgements of the method applied in a variety of craft practices. The conclusion of the article is that time-space geography can enhance craft research, but also augment personal instruction. Skilfulness is not exclusively tied to the maker's genius and intentions nor carefully guided by universal rules of thumb or predictable behaviours. Skill grows from attentive practice in the face of constraints and of the paths of beings and things in time-space.

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