At the moment I am coordinating an Arts Council funded project called Makers & Tools. I thought it might be interesting to share the ideas behind the project and how it has developed in the last couple of years. [This text was originally written during the pilot project in 2017 but I’ve expanded it to reflect what I learnt and how the current iteration of Makers & Tools in 2019 has developed.]
From my conversations with makers, it was obvious how important tools are to craftspeople; how makers come to rely on specific tools that perform well, or do particular jobs. The tools are chosen to produce a certain effect or because they will help the maker achieve the result they want. Tools are aids. They are selected and utilised. I began to wonder, what if the position of tools in a maker’s practice were reversed – what if the tool came first? This notion, along with the idea of a tool swap, a collaborative process, led to the framework of the project: I wanted to see what would happen when the role of tools in a maker’s practice was disrupted. What happens if a maker doesn’t choose her tools? What if she is gifted a tool crafted by another maker? What effect does this benign intervention have on her making process, and what possibilities does this allow?