CRAFT & FUTURE
A project prepared in collaboration with the School for Wickerwork Design—Lichtenfels in March 2020.
How can the time-worn craft of basketry remain current and sustainable? Which of the many creative impulses originating in the “basket city” of Lichtenfels will be the next to take the art of wickerwork to yet another level? How can tradition remain true to itself while inspiring and integrating contemporary design? Early in 2020, we invited students from the School for Wickerwork Design—Lichtenfels to develop new seating elements for the Archive of the Future. This resulted in a number of striking designs, two of which were selected for production and presentation in the showroom. At the vernissage on 15 March 2020, visitors tested the new furniture and spoke in person with students. In turn, students gave visitors a behind-the-scenes introduction to the work they do, performing live demonstrations of various techniques and answering questions. Visitors also tried a hand at weaving for themselves.
Photos and voices of the students:
FIRMLY ON THE PATH TO THE FUTURE
Where is the tradtion of basket weaving headed?
People in Lichtenfels undoubtedly have been asking this question for some time. It is generally assumed that basketry is a dying practice. But with this exhibition, it was our aim to show that basket designers with creative ideas can remain confident in the future of their craft.
The Archive of the Future takes special interest in the cultivation of the willow, displaying this natural raw material in a most striking way. As part of the design module at the school of design, eleventh year students analysed seating furniture made of willow, and manufactured two top designs conceived for the showroom.
"Willows grow into the building of the Archive of the Future and form the roof. Meanwhile, willows grow up through the benches of the showroom, sometimes they are still redirected, sometimes they form a backrest, but sometimes they simply shoot upwards following their natural inclination, conquering the space."
( Dorothée Rentsch )
"Seats made of willow? We came up with a practical, easy solution. A base was created in the style of the existing benches, which can be joined together using two separate elements if required. A typical upturned basket is then placed on top and there you have a sturdy stool. If an empty room is what you need, without the clutter of furniture, simply stack the wicker seats inside each other and remove the bases!"
( Anneberth Lux )
Design and production contributors also include:
Bärbel Yonson, Nina Krasniqi, Conny Schlesinger, Elisabeth Richter und Felicitas Borlinghaus
DESIGN WITH WICKERWORK
In the three-year training program at the School for Wickerwork Design—Lichtenfels, students learn not only traditional craft techniques but also the basic principles of design work. The program concludes with a journeyman examination, which in Bavaria is also considered a qualification for further schooling, including university education. Incidentally, this is the last school in Europe to offer training on this scale.
The historical impulse for founding the school in 1904, namely to improve the design skills of basket makers and other artisans, is as relevant today as it was then. High-quality handcraft and contemporary design applied to utilitarian and decorative objects and furniture, combined with the use of natural, renewable materials continue to offer wickerwork designers a professional future beyond the constraints of a globalized market.
Through a combination of hands-on training in wickerwork and predominantly project-based training modules combining art, layout and design, the school offers room for creativity alongside invaluable experience in the production, presentation and marketing of hand-crafted design objects.
In "our" school building on Kronacher Straße in Lichtenfels, traditional craft has its ancestral historical place; you can get a sense there of what basketry has meant for Lichtenfels and the region. The rooms are specially designed for the needs of wickerwork designers: there are several workshops, a drawing room and a computer room in the well-preserved historic building, plus our very own willow grove.
And with the beginning of each new school year, fresh students arrive who want to bring the oldest craft in the world into a contemporary context with creativity and modern ideas.