This is a study at the interface of self, craft, and sustainability. It is a small part of a wider personal and social conjecture on the subject of ‘change ’ involving these three domains.
This research develops the proposal that the success of a profound social change, which in our time pertains to the change towards sustainable societies, lies in the likeliness of self-transformation in individuals.
Here the craft perspective is taken in order to link it to a large body of research in response to environmental and ethical concerns. However, unlike other object-oriented approaches with a similar purpose, the purpose of this research is to seek a greater contribution from craft practice when it is viewed as a transformation of the craftsperson. By referring to this human capacity, it argues, not only is crafting an inducement to self-transformation but also self-transformation can be regarded as a craft.
To support this argument, material is drawn from the literature on craft, sustainability, philosophy of the self and social and developmental psychology. The historical and developmental formations of the key areas of the research are explored and psychological factors that motivate desirable ‘changes’ are identified. This exploration is then supported by interviews, personal narratives and the active participation of the researcher in the actual practice of craft.
The research suggests that the state of self-actualization, where humanity reaches its fullness, is the destination to which the self needs to transform. It then traces elements involved in such a transformation back to their origin. This includes meanings and values leading to transformation, knowledge leading to meanings, experience leading to knowledge and the embodied connection between the self and the environment leading to experience. At the deepest level, it proposes a particular mode of relationship which is best described as craftsmanship or ‘the craft way of being.’ This process is also traced in the personal experience of the researcher.
This thesis concludes with an explanation of the concept of ‘deep craft’. It proposes that the outcome of a deeper understanding of craft, which in effect widens the territory of craft activities, becomes manifest in the world in the form of ‘care taking’, essential for the ‘change’ towards more sustainable societies.
|Date of Award
|Seaton Baxter (Supervisor) & Sandra Wilson (Supervisor)