In studio, I’ve been working with the provocation, “What is the role of craftsmanship in a discipline distinguished by speed?” After reading, discussing, and concept-mapping, I identified (fancy!) five recurring themes/nodes: quality, imperfection, artisan/al, easy, and technology. Does “technology” make speed “easy”? Does “quality” require “imperfection”? Etc.
I decided to do a timed exercise to see how craft is affected by the speed of digital practices – my particularized version of the initial provocation. The rules: Craft ten spreads that meditate on each of those pre-selected nodes. Only spend ten minutes per spread. No revisions. They all must be done digitally.
- Ten minutes goes by really fast – at first. By the sixth spread, I was checking the timer, just wanting to be done.
- My text initially had to be “profound.” I used quotes from the readings I had done to spark these meditations. It got pretentious quickly. And I got bored.
- Then, I started writing up my thoughts about each node in relation to the reading, but also my approach to making that particular spread.
- These turned more stream-of-consciousness as I fought the clock to generate more content.
- Earlier spreads were “crazier” to justify the speed at which they were being produced.
- at some points, it stopped feeling like graphic design and more like an artist’s book.
- Speed makes me think I’m losing control of craftsmanship.
- I didn’t really use the grid system I had set up and worked more with a blank canvas. The spreads became more about overall image, like a drawing.
- Working so quickly pushed me to make. I couldn’t end with nothing. It was a good way to jump start creativity. If you’re ever stuck on a project, I’d recommend trying this exercise, just for kicks.