by M F Miller
The New Artisans: Handmade Designs for Contemporary Living by Olivier Dupon is a well-executed look at the modern resurgence of craft and artisan-based work. An elaborate extension of his blog Dossier37, Dupon branches over several different mediums to bring together a collection of designers, crafters and companies that are focused on making items that represent something more than the mass-production that floods the mainstream. Dupon’s goal is to return the word “artisan to its noble status,” a place where skill and workmanship matter as much as the aesthetic.
There is now, a very recognizable movement of designers and artists combining traditional techniques and methods with fresh new styles and modern materials. The New Artisans proves this page after page. Whether it is the making of original craft from raw materials or new art from recycled sources, Dupon showcases quite strongly that all of the producers in the book have a certain thing in common; they are set on joining “meaning, imagination and excellence” in everything they make. Moreover, this artisan movement is coupled with the rise in the customer’s desire to have access to items that carry a one-of-a-kind quality in a sea of disposable things. The want to “know thy maker” is real and fuels both the artist and the buyer.
The strength of The New Artisans lies in its scope. It is a gallery in print. Categorized alphabetically, with clean and detailed images, the book reads easily as a survey of many different artists from several different countries. It showcases both established companies like Duvelleroy (a French house of fans founded in 1827) and Italian crochet artist Antonia Rossi, who does not even have her own studio and makes her art wherever she can. Dupon provides a sneak peek into the private places where all of these crafts are made and each artist’s body of work is well represented with several images. The New Artisans does a great job of highlighting the spectrum and specialty of each contributor.
Dupon has put together a tightly edited collection of arts and crafts that will surely be a much-visited reference for professional inspiration and creative stimulation.
The New Artisans by Olivier Dupon, Publisher: Thames & Hudson; All photographs by M F Miller