Mind the gaps!
: an advanced practice model for the understanding and development of fine craft practice

  • Elizabeth K. Donald

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The current uncertainty centres around Craft as a discipline as opposed to a set of skills applied to a process for a predefined product. This dichotomy is partly due to the lack of a clear definition of craft practice, its theoretical underpinning, and criteria for the evaluation of the products of practice. It appears that this problem emanates from craft itself which has few, if any, practitioners writing from their perspective of practice. A practitioner herself, with all the tacit knowledge from which craft practice is built, enables the researcher to articulate a particular viewpoint, that of the practitioner‘s. She has used this knowledge in the presentation of this thesis and has conducted the research necessarily informed by her own practice. She has also specifically sought the views of other practitioners in order to maintain the voice of practice within this thesis. The term =Fine Craft practice‘ is used by the Past Present and Future Craft Practice1 project to which the researcher is affiliated. In order to understand what Fine Craft practice is, it is necessary to define within the Project context what is meant by this from the perspective of practice. A working definition of Fine Craft practice was developed and this definition became the tool with which to identify possible historical and contemporary Fine Craft practice and to examine the process of progress within these craft practices in order to develop a model of interrogating progress within one‘s own practice and within that of another. This process verified the definition of Fine Craft Practice. Interviews with a cross-section of contemporary craft practitioners were conducted to enable a critical analysis of their methodological approaches. Analysis of practitioners‘ responses formed the basis of a progress wheel, which was divided into equal quadrants. This progress wheel can, through self-reflection and through interview, identify the process of progress within one‘s own or another practitioner‘s practice, dependant on the balance of segments within the wheel. Fine Craft practice is the goal of dedicated practitioners, and the model developed is the yardstick against which to measure that progress and to identify the gaps in practice, which can be addressed. The relevance and importance of this research to craft practitioners and to education was discussed and further research identified. The House of Falkland in Fife, Scotland, a Grade A listed building, was part of the investigation. The wonderful original Arts and Crafts and Byzantium features were part of the refurbishment in 1890‘s, undertaken by G.W. Schultz, H.W.Lonsdale and others who were significant practitioners of the Arts and Crafts movement. A case study of the Vine Corridor2 within the House of Falkland, gave opportunity to critically analyse historical craft using the Advanced Practice Model which gave insight into the methodological approaches embedded within historical Fine Craft practice and verified the model as a tool for interrogating the practitioner responsible for the craftsmanship.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SponsorsArts & Humanities Research Council
    SupervisorGeorgina Follett (Supervisor) & Murdo Macdonald (Supervisor)


    • Fine Craft

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