Capstone Project - Hong Kong's Cabinet of Craft Curiosity

Craftsmanship is a project in its own right. The beauty of craftsmanship points towards the craftsman’s attributes, manifested in each and every object they produce. Through the research on “Made in Hong Kong” and the context of craftsmanship, the relationship between crafting and society is questioned. To this effect the project repositions a re-awareness of crafting, against homogeneity of sameness and standardization in favour of a diverse heterogeneity, not at mass products but a way of spatializing the needs and creativity of the individual.

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The Cabinet of Curiosity allows for altering, redefining and relocating discarded creations into spatial elements, as a collection of memory. In each produced object or elements, processes and history is mirrored in multiple layers and textures of craftsmanship that hopefully will infiltrate into the future of the Anthropocene.

Hong Kong society has subconsciously become more and more modern. A lot of precious local crafting skills were dismissed by the society because the public started to chase for a fast, cheap, minimal living culture. In the past decades, craftsman such as tile-makers, porcelain painters are disappearing in our community, most of the crafting skills are replaced by machines, or even lost. In this current situation, why can’t the society preserve their own inventions and legacy? Therefore, the concept of this thesis project, is to alert and fight from an incoherent homogeneity to a coherent heterogeneity for our production community. The ultimate goal is to preserve and prolong local craftsmanship by designing spaces through objects; but not making objects just to fit in spaces. By combining and transforming existing crafting skills into one of the spatial elements, tile, the presentation will first go through the long and deep progress that leading to the decision of making tiles, then to introduce a new method of tile-making. at the end, the spatial application of the spatial element, will also be presented.

The capstone theme is Made in HK and the project is named the Hong kong’s Cabinet of craft curiosities. The project believes that, craftsmanship can reveal its own story without having to be translated into language. By transforming and recombining local crafting skills into spatial elements, the story of crafting processes and history that reflect the multilayered textures of craftsman could finally be deliberately infiltrated into the future of human’s life, which also means, the Anthropocene.

Since the last semester, the project have started the research on local craftsman and their relationship with our society, then it has go on to analyse and to interview craftsman’ culture, crafting process, techniques, obstacles, vision, etc. With the support of last semester’s research, the reason of production community falling apart, is because every craftsman works alone, they feel bored. With the competitions of technologies and mass production machines, only by creating new excitements, which means, cooperation and communication, can change the unfortunate situation.

The beginning of the project was inspired by the cabinet of curiosities. Back in the 15th century, the cabinet of curiosities were the collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were yet to be defined. These seventeenth-century cabinets were filled with preserved animals, horns, skeletons, minerals, as well as other interesting man-made objects. Inspired by the collective method, in the earlier stage of the project, i have first design and created a series of memorial artefact that reflects the possibilities of the mixture of crafting skills. Through altering, redefining and relocating discarded creations into spatial elements, a collection of memory is introduced.

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