BOOK: Design+craft: the Brazilian path, by Adelia Borges
Livro sobre design e artesanato no Brasil faz do local, global. Esgotado, confira aqui algumas passagens para compreender o que é o artesanato brasileiro
Eu me lembro que cheguei a comprar este livro novo, por 20 reais, em uma Bienal do Livro há uns anos atrás. Hoje, encontra-se esgotado no site da própria Editora Terceiro Nome. Quer dizer, tem 20 unidades novas ao valor de 450 reais no site da Amazon. E isso por que a Adélia Borges era considerada (por alguns professores da Escola de Design da UEMG, antes de 2010) uma autora controversa no mundinho fechado da literatura em Design – puro preconceito por ela ser jornalista, não acadêmica da área. O fato é que ela tem uma contribuição e tanto para o Design de Produto, principalmente, além de ser uma professora renomada.
Trata-se de uma das poucas obras nacionais que tratam o artesanato brasileiro de forma abrangente, sem ser um catálogo estadual – o que é comum nesta área de investigação do design e do artesanato. A seguir, transcrevo o resumo do livro e o meu fichamento, com algumas anotações em laranja.
Resumo do livro
Cabeça e mãos, coração e alma: é da união de pessoas de diferentes perfis, detentoras de múltiplas e complementares habilidades e das mais diversas trajetórias de vida que surge o que se poderia chamar de identidade brasileira. Cada vez mais, artesãos e designers trabalham juntos em iniciativas de revitalização do objeto artesanal, que aparece nas páginas desse livro em toda sua diversidade, complexidade e beleza. Esse encontro vem gerando ricos frutos: produtos de alta qualidade e umbilicalmente ligados, nos motivos e nos materiais, às comunidades em que são feitos, melhoria da vida dos produtores e usuários e desenvolvimento mais justo e equânime do país. Além disso, essa reunião ajuda a enfraquecer o preconceito que atribui conotação de inferioridade às coisas feitas à mão e de superioridade às coisas projetadas pelo intelecto. Esses e muitos outros casos, seus alcances, potencialidades e riscos, são o objeto da instigante análise de Adélia Borges, que nos ensina a importância de se deixar contagiar, na hora de adquirir um produto, não apenas pela adequação de forma e função, mas também, e sobretudo, pelo afeto, memória e cultura impregnados nos objetos feitos à mão.
Fichamento do livro
BORGES, A. Design + craft: the Brazilian path. São Paulo, Editora Terceiro Nome, 2011, 240 p.
- O que é artesanato?
- What is craft?
define what we understand by craft
It is the definition given by UNESCO in 1997: ‘Artisanal products are those produced by artisans, either completely by hand, tools or even mechanical means as long as the direct manual contribution of the artisan remains the most substantial component of the finished product. These are produced without restriction in terms of quantity and using raw materials from sustainable resources. The special nature of artisanal products is derived from their distinctive features which can be utilitarian, aesthetic, artistic, creative, culturally attached and socially symbolic and significant.’ — >> Definition adopted by UNESCO/ITC International Symposium on Crafts and International Markets (Manila, Phillipines, October, 1997).
These techniques may have been transmitted through generations of the same family or by elder members of a community, or may have been recently ‘invented’ by one or several people.
This characterization is radically different from that understood by craft in other countries, in which techniques are learned in university courses and are practiced by educated people who see in this activity a form of self-expression – and this brings them closer to art than to design. (…) This view is widely spread not only in Northern Hemisphere countries, such as The Netherlands, Finland, England, but also in Australia, for instance, where this view prevails. (BORGES, 2011)
Craft = ‘a manual occupation that requires extensive training, usually including apprenticeship, and a high degree of skill (e.g., carpentry, plumbing, linotype operation)’ —- >> Dictionary of business and management (second edition), 1983, Australia.
We should say crafts women, once the large majority is composed by woman
When we cover artisanal practices by a significant group of the population, we are interested in bringing to light the union between ethics and aesthetics taking place in such experiences and which can be considered a larger phenomenon of social innovation.
- Como é o artesanato e o design no Brasil?
Unlike countries where classic and industrial design developed from artisanal traditions (Italy, Japan and Scandinavian countries, for instance), in Brazil these two activities have always existed in separate worlds, or even situated in opposite fields. (BORGES, 2011)
If ‘form follows function’, it is not necessary to pay attention to local cultures as, once an ‘adequate’ form is reached, it can be repeated forever and independently from time and place.
‘That part of humanity, carried on by their needs to solve their own existential problem and not possessing this pseudo-culture, has enough power to develop a new and true culture. This latent power exists in a high degree in Brazil, where a primordial form of primitive civilization (not in the sense of being naïve, but composed by essential, real and concrete elements) coincides with the most advanced form of modern thought’. — >> Lina Bo Bardi, Instituto Lina Bo Bardi and P. M. Bardi, 1994, CDD-745.4.
as the country was still industrialized (…) artisanal production was suffering with an accentuated loss of cultural relevance. The rich traditions of manual production, in which communities created products for their own consumption and for their communities, started to suffer with competition of industrial products imported from China, and artisans started to repeat industrial shapes and/or to adopt stereotypes in their production.
- Como tem sido a revitalização do artesanato brasileiro?
in the mid 1980s, designers started a timid movement towards the countryside, seeking a revitalization of craft, this ought to happen through the recovery and preservation of production techniques passed on from one generation to the next, and through the introduction of new elements in the making of traditional objects, both formal and technical.
Coming together between these two kinds of professionals (…) literate people (…) and illiterate or under-educated people from rural communities and urban peripheries.
1988 – Constitution
A direct consequence of the measures was the cultural blossoming of the country.
many actions were backed by incentives of agencies such as Sebrae and Artesol (Artesanato Solidário).
… was losing its cultural relevance due to motifs alien to the local realities – from gnomes and pyramids
Artesanato Solidário, created in 1998 under the scope of Conselho da Comunidade Solidária (Solidarity Community Council). (…) headed by anthropologist Ruth Cardoso, when her husband, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, was president of Brazil.
(…) a conviction that patronizing policies had to be replaced by incentives to the collective organization of artisans, thus stimulating entrepreneurship.
There is neither standard procedure nor ready-made recipe for the revitalization of craft.
It is essential to verify and analyze what already exists in a certain given place in order to outline work strategies, case by case.
- Como desenvolver o artesanato brasileiro?
- How to develop arts and crafts in Brasil?
The pathways that have been set for these actions can be grouped into the following main directions:
- Improvement of technical conditions
- Use of local materials
- Identity and diversity
- Artisans as suppliers
- Combined actions
Most of the problems related to poor finishing cannot be attributed to an occasional oversight of the artisan, but rather to lack of information and loss of references, which once used to be part of local repertories, but have been forgotten throughout the years.
According to IBGE, embroidery is the most widespread artisanal practice in the country, present in 75.4 per cent of Brazilian municipalities.
Carefully organizing the production allows having products in catalogues, a crucial requirement for long distances orders. This leads to an indirect consequence that is equally important: when you define specifications for each product, you can estimate time and amount of raw material needed to elaborate each piece, so that accurate prices can be calculated for each product, as well as delivery times.
taking advantages of the qualities of local resources and materials.
Golden grass in Jalapão, Tocantins
Rubber from Amazon, naturally died cotton from Paraíba state, and wheat straw from the South.
— fibras vegetais, como carnauba e fibra de bananeira tem recebido atenção no Brasil… Brazil is the second largest producer of bananas in the world.
Many programs have encouraged artisans to recognize elements in their everyday lives which could be transposed to the forms of their objects.
- Como é a relação do artesão com seu produto?
The understanding is that ‘an artisan’ product must be seen as a materialization of his/her complex cultural heritage. This means that every change in the object also implies a change in the person who did it and, consequently, in the context to which it belongs.
A good case of inventory making is that of the graphic motifs found in the basketry that has been produced by the Baniwa Native People, since for 2.000 years. In a collaborative project, the Baniwa organization OIBI, within the Federação das Organizações indígenas do Rio Negro (Foirn – Federation of Indigenous Organization of the Negro River) and of the Instituto Sociomabiental (ISA – Socio-Environmental Institute), isolate the most frequent graphic patterns in their baskets and sieves and passed on back to the indigenous communities. They were also displayed in a publication by ISA. Furthermore, they fostered the production and distribution of basketry in shops in urban centers, within a model in which the Baniwa managed their business by themselves. That project received many awards, among them the World Bank Award of Citizenship in 2002. Those baskets combine two basic colors – red from annatto and black from the cinders of flour ovens, combined with natural color stabilizers to enhance durability and confer shine to pieces.
(…) to create a visual identity program for craft pieces. Logos, labels, well finished packaging, catalogues, point-of-purchase and website displays are resources totally incorporated into industrial production, and particularly important to communicate intangible values of artisanal objects.
To recover and to preserve, two verbs that are usually employed when we talk about craft, imply paralyzing something, petrifying it. However, everything that is alive is constantly changing. Artisans are not under a bell jar, immune to all external influences.
‘We have to take great care not to incur in what is static, grotesque, and folkloric, linked to a crystallized image that takes away from people the ability of imagining, dreaming, producing. It becomes so strong that individuals nullify themselves, and a nation is built from the individual minds of each person who make it up. Our job is to stimulate particular persons from that particular community to exercise their singularity’, says designer Fernanda Martins, who developed the methodology of participative design so that process can be shared.
p. 151 and 152
- Crítica ao uso da mão-de-obra dos artesãos e da sua criatividade em favor de produtos de designers à venda em outras localidades
(…) Gui Bonsiepe calls ‘productivity approach’ within the theme of craft and design, which ‘considers artisans as qualified and cheap labor, utilizing their ability to produce objects developed and signed by designers and artists’. According to Bonsiepe, ‘a great deal or naivety is necessary to accept this approach, presented as an ‘aid’ for artisans in peripheries. They use humanitarian interests as excuses to produce designs ‘inspired’ by the local folk culture brought directly from the center in order to take advantage of cheap labor in those communities. This practice in design tends to continue dependency relationships instead of contributing to their eradication.
some authors from the Northern Hemisphere. Bruce Nussbaum (…) ‘Is Humanitarian design the new imperialism? Does our desire to help do more harm than good?’
English author John Thackara presented his view: ‘The most powerful lesson for me, after twenty years working as a visitor on projects in India and South Asia, is that we have more to learn from smart poor people regarding things like ecology, connectivity, devices and infrastructures, than they have to learn from us’.
Half the world’s economy is informal — and that proportion is growing. And yet every time a new wave of development is unleashed, the informal economy is either ignored by planners or, if the poor get in the way, they are routinely swept aside, along with the ways of doing things that have served people well for generations.
The most exciting opportunity for innovation lies in combining the knowledge systems, tools, and social and territorial assets of South and North. In a light and sustainable economy, we will share resources such as time, skill, software or food using socially embedded systems, enabled by networked communications, that are a hybrid of assets from North and South.
Associação Brasileira de Exportação de Artesanato
According to Iphan, ‘Immaterial Heritage is transmitted from one generation to the next and is constantly recreated by communities and groups according to their environment, their interactions with nature, and their history, generating a feeling of identity and continuity, thus contributing to promote respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.’
discorre sobre certificação de produtos artesanais
p. 182 and 183
órgãos do governo que auxiliam o artesanato:
- The Ministry of Culture
- Artesol (2008)
- Ministry of Agricultural Development
- Talents of Brazil program (2005)
- Ministries of Tourism, Labor, Environment and Social Development, among others
- Ministry of Development, Industry and External Trade
- Program of Brazilian Craft (1995)
In 2007, when he was director of the Division of Cultural Expressions and Creative Industries at UNESCO, Indrasen Vencatachellum, wrote: ‘The branches of the tree of craft are numerous and wide spread in space, and this is both their power and fragility. A poll among 47 Member Countries and five continents showed that up thirteen different ministries are able to accomplish actions within the craft industry, each one of them with a different purpose’. This gives us an idea of how challenging it is to organize cooperation in a sector that is so complex and heterogeneous.
Artesanato Sustentável do Amazonas
(…) we are now calling the 2.5 sector, that is, it has social inclination, but it is moved by profit within a process of systematic production with division of work based on the abilities and competencies of each person involved.’
NGOs, such as WWF, GTZ…
Lack of an institution able to articulate agents to increase synergy is still a problem.
For a period, many believed that industrialization would kill craft. Similarly, globalization would kill local cultural expressions.
In this renewed signification, what matters is the ability an object has to bring to their users values that have only been recently acknowledged, such as human warmth, uniqueness and belonging.
Octavio Paz, 1973:
‘Until only a few short years ago, it was generally thought that handcrafts were doomed to disappear and be replaced by industrial production. Today, however, precisely the contrary is occurring: handmade artifacts are now playing an appreciable role in world trade. Handcrafted objects from Afghanistan and Sudan are being sold in the same stores as the latest products from the design studios in Italian and Japanese factories. This rebirth is particularly noticeable in the highly industrialized countries, affecting producer and consumer alike. Where industrial concentration is heaviest… we are witnessing the resurrection of such time-hallowed trades as pottery making, carpentry, glass blowing. Many young people of both sexes who are fed up with and disgusted by modern society have returned to craftwork.
Paz: ‘Handcrafts belong to a world antedating the separation of the useful and the beautiful. Such separation is more recent than is generally supposed.
[aritisanal objects] bring in them a feeling of belonging.
The Future is Handmade, 2003, The Netherlands’ Prince Claus Foundation for Culture and Development
Australian curator and research Kevin Murray, a privileged observer of the craft scene in the Southern Hemisphere, believes it is leading to a truly silent (r)evolution in Latin America.
This is predominantly feminine activity: 85 per cent of artisans are estimated to be women. Many of them alternate artisanal practice with other occupations and do not consider it as their main activity.
Big cities are no longer the only path to get a better life. Programs of craft requalification have allowed people to stay in their hometowns or areas of origin and achieve a quality of life which, before, they could only reach by moving to a larger city. The interruption of migratory flows – and in some cases even its reversion – has been occurring in many cases. Some women who left their hometown for underployment in nearby urban center have returned.