Beginning October 13th, 2014 and as part of our ongoing Makeshift conversation, Alabama Chanin will host a series of discussions and lectures about design, art, business, community, and plenty of other topics. Events will be held at the Factory on the second Monday of each month. The format will shift, depending on topic and presenter, but you can look forward to informal talks, multi-media presentations, and hands-on workshops.
Makeshift began over three years ago as a conversation about design, craft, art, fashion, and DIY—how they intersect and how each discipline elevates the others. Since its beginnings, we have expanded the conversation, discussing how making in groups can build relationships and communities, all the while examining what the design community can learn from the slow food movement.
The dialogue has grown, changed, and shifted each year, but the larger purpose remains: to explore how certain themes cross industries, to create a space to learn from one another, to design platforms to work with one another, and to adapt our disciplines for the greater good. After Makeshift 2014, it became clear that we wanted to expand our conversations further, including more voices and perspectives in the narrative. The next step is to bring this global focus to the local level.
My own design training began with an interdisciplinary program inspired by the Bauhaus movement that was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany. The school founded by Gropius, named the Staatliches Bauhaus, was founded on the idea of creating complete collaboration between all of the genres of design and the arts. The word “bauhaus” in direct translation means “house of construction” but was understood by its students as the “school of building.” This school of building produced some of the very best architects, potters, textile, landscape, and graphic designers of its era.
Architects, painters, sculptors, we must all return to crafts! For there is no such thing as “professional art”. There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. By the grace of Heaven and in rare moments of inspiration which transcend the will, art may unconsciously blossom from the labour of his hand, but a base in handicrafts is essential to every artist. It is there that the original source of creativity lies.
Let us therefore create a new guild of craftsmen without the class-distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artists! Let us desire, conceive, and create the new building of the future together. It will combine architecture, sculpture, and painting in a single form, and will one day rise towards the heavens from the hands of a million workers as the crystalline symbol of a new and coming faith. — Walter Gropius
Look for more information on this and other upcoming Makeshift events on our Journal and/or join our mailing list.