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Forgotten how to crafts manuals
April 05, 2019 Entertainment and Movies 4 comments

 


The Call for Papers

Download the CFP in pdf >>

On the 125th anniversary of the first projection of Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon (1895), this 16th international conference turns its attention to all that occurs behind the factory doors: that is, the crafts, trades, and techniques that, while not always represented on screen, shape our experience of it.

Long part of Domitor’s mission, this reevaluation of the skills and practices that defined the cinema in its early decades aims to gain a better understanding of the medium in its varied industrial and professional aspects. The art, techniques, and gestures of craftspersons – such as performers, camera operators, editors, directors, designers, engineers, projectionists, programmers, and critics – like those of the factory or laboratory worker, had to be developed in their new specificity and in relation to existing cultural and technological forms.

We are interested in discovering how the industrialization of cinema, professionalization of workers, and standardization of techniques, alongside developing technologies, led to the creation (or at times, the diversion or subversion) of norms, legitimizing certain skills, crafts and techniques at the expense of others. Such fluctuating practices and professions, and their accompanying discourses and representations, merit further historical inquiry across hierarchies, divisions of labor, and lines of class, gender, race, ethnicity, region, and nation.

We welcome proposals engaging with the widest possible range of methodologies, objects, and case studies that shed light on various aspects of crafts, trades, and film techniques in the early years of cinema.

Possible topics include:

  • new theorizations of and new approaches to craft, trades, gestures, and techniques
  • neglected and/or forgotten crafts, trades and techniques: lenscrafters, equipment distributors, colorists, editors/cutters, ushers and cashiers, barkers, benshi and other bonimenteurs, travel lecturers, publicity agents, handbook/manual writers, venue managers, industrial camera units, professional societies
  • exchanges between professions: inventors, engineers, manufacturers, users of technology
  • professionalization across intermedial networks: actors, costume and set designers, lighting technicians, lanternists, accompanists, critics
  • tools, techniques and skills inherited from pre-existing forms like magic lantern shows, vaudeville, circus; and the process through which new professions and trades developed and became autonomous from antecedents of cinema
  • professionalization and training through studios, laboratories, schools, manuals
  • working environments of early cinema and their ecologies of labor: studios, labs, projection rooms, film exchanges, etc.
  • infrastructures of professional practice, such as department positions, production contracts, the physical circulation of trade journals, the emergence of guilds and collective bargaining; architectures or organization of actors consortia, editors guilds, rental exchanges, and exhibition venues; immigration movements and labor; the division of labor, and the rates at which it progressed in different countries; the extraction, delivery and consumption of resources and energy
  • backgrounds, methods, and itineraries of inventors, manufacturers, designers, performers, projectionists, programmers, distributors, exhibitors
  • appropriation and repurposing of technology and techniques beyond prescribed norms and use (including in amateur and avant-garde practices)
  • discourses on and representations of professions and techniques in the press and in the films themselves, early historiographies of professions

We also are interested in papers that examine the history and legacy of early cinema’s place beyond the temporal frame of 1890 through 1915. As cinema developed unevenly across the globe, we welcome papers that take an expansive view of early cinema in relation to crafts, trades, and techniques.


Proposal Submission Process

Send proposals to [email protected] no later than September 22, 2019. Questions about the submission process should also be sent to that address. Proposals for individual presentations should be no longer than 300 words, plus a bibliography of three to five sources, and a brief biographical statement. Proposals may be written in either English or French. Only papers written in one of those two languages can be presented at the conference. Conference papers should be no longer than 3,000 words and must fit within a 20-minute presentation time (including audiovisual materials). Conference participants may be asked to submit final drafts by 20 May 2020 to allow for translation.

Proposals for pre-constituted panels of three participants will also be considered; such proposals should be submitted by the panel chair and consist of the collected individual paper proposals in addition to a brief rationale for the panel.

While membership in Domitor is not required to submit a proposal, anyone presenting a paper at the conference must be a member: domitor.org/membership/

 

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

From blacksmithing to basketry, from weaving to woodturning, we have an incredible range of heritage craft skills in the UK and some of the best craftspeople in the world. But many of these skills are in the hands of an ageing population.

In 2015, the Heritage Crafts Association received a grant from The Radcliffe Trust to assess the vitality of traditional heritage crafts in the UK and identify those crafts most at risk of disappearing. The assessment of the vitality of each craft – from those which are currently viable to those which are critically endangered – has been made with the help of craftspeople, craft organisations, heritage professionals, funding bodies and members of the public who contributed to the research.

Make a donation that could help save an endangered craft

For the purposes of this research, a heritage craft is defined as ‘a practice which employs manual dexterity and skill and an understanding of traditional materials, design and techniques, and which has been practised for two or more successive generations’. The research focuses on craft practices which are taking place in the UK at the present time, including those crafts which have originated elsewhere, and on those aspects of each craft with a high reliance on hand-work and which involve high levels of hand skill.

In May 2017 the HCA published The Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind in the UK. This research has enabled the HCA to shine a light on this important aspect of the UK’s collective intangible heritage that has, until now, been languishing in the dark. It is our hope that this research will act as a call to action to those who have it within their power to resolve or alleviate these issues, and that this project will mark the start of long-term monitoring of heritage craft viability and a shared will to avoid the cultural loss that is borne each time a craft dies.

In March 2019 a major update was published, increasing the number of crafts examined to 212, with one new extinct crafts, 16 new critically endangered crafts and 20 new endangered crafts added.

If you have any queries about the research, are aware of a heritage craft that is not listed, or have further information to add about any craft, please contact [email protected]

Crafts, Trades, and Techniques of Early Cinema new approaches to craft, trades, gestures, and techniques; neglected and/or forgotten crafts, travel lecturers, publicity agents, handbook/manual writers, venue managers, industrial camera.

"There is not a human skill that was ever developed that is not still practiced somewhere on this planet." -- John Seymour. The Forgotten Arts & crafts brings together in a single absorbing volume two best-selling classics, The Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts, written by the acknowledged "Father of Self-sufficiency" John Seymour. Taking the reader on an e"There is not a human skill that was ever developed that is not still practiced somewhere on this planet." -- John Seymour. The Forgotten Arts & crafts brings together in a single absorbing volume two best-selling classics, The Forgotten Arts and Forgotten Household Crafts, written by the acknowledged "Father of Self-sufficiency" John Seymour. Taking the reader on an evocative journey through the worlds of traditional craftspeople -- from blacksmith to bee-keeper, wainwright to housewife -- Seymour celebrates their honest skills, many of which have disappeared beneath the tread of progress. With characteristic passion, Seymour demonstrates that these country arts and household crafts need never be forgotten. From woodland and building crafts to the tasks of the kitchen and laundry, he explores every aspect of traditional life. Materials and workshop tools are usefully annotated, and techniques evoked in engaging words and pictures. Over 1,700 detailed illustrations and photographs bring to life each craft and skill. In an affectionate and nostalgic account, John Seymour recalls a lifetime of encounters with working craftspeople in different parts of the world and describes the trades and household activities he saw practiced in the countryside of his youth. With a crusading vigor, he commends the joys of noble toil and makes a compelling plea for "virtuous craftsmanship," which may, without vigilance, vanish forever.

Originally published as two separate books: The Forgotten Arts and The National Trust Book of Forgotten Household Crafts....more

Hardcover, 384 pages

Published March 14th 2001 by DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)

The Forgotten Everyday Origins of ‘Craft’

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It is a craft that requires imagination, concentration and precision. And, when you are about to plunge a chisel into a wonderfully smooth piece of lime wood, a degree of boldness.

Owen Morse-Brown, whose workshop is tucked away on a light industrial estate in Wiltshire, is one of the last British artisans blessed with the skills to create wooden hat blocks – moulds for headwear ranging from the sort of creations Ascot racegoers sport to trilbies, fedoras, bowlers, porkpies and Bretons.

Cutting edge: the young artisans making homewares in ancient ways

Morse-Brown’s craft is one of 17 that has been placed on a “red list” judged by the Heritage Craft Association to be critically endangered. The association claims that crafts such as shaping clay pipes and carving clogs are at serious risk of no longer being practised and is calling on the government to take action.

It says that unless something is done many crafts will follow the handmaking of cricket balls and lacrosse sticks into its “extinct” category.

Greta Bertram, who led the red list research on behalf of the Heritage Crafts Association, said: “We would like to see the government recognise the importance of traditional craft skills as part of our cultural heritage, and take action to ensure they are passed on to the next generation.

“Craft skills today are in the same position that historic buildings were a hundred years ago. We recognise the importance of old buildings as part of our heritage, and it’s time for us to join the rest of the world and recognise that these living cultural traditions are just as important and need safeguarding too.”

Morse-Brown agreed. “Crafting and traditional skills are hugely important,” he said. “Making things and passing on knowledge through the generations is part of what makes us human.”

Up until the 1940s and 50s, hats were commonly made on wooden moulds. “Everybody wore a hat,” said Morse-Brown. “So millions of blocks were needed for every style, every size. But things changed.”

Hats tend to be made on metal moulds that can be heated. “It’s a lot quicker and less manual like almost everything,” Morse-Brown said. According to the Heritage Craft Association, cheapChinese imports are also to blame and its red list says there are only between one and five hat block makers left in the UK.

Owen took over the business from his father, Guy Morse-Brown, a decade ago. Until then he had specialised in making viols and other early stringed instruments but his father tutored him in the very particular requirements of hat block making.

The type of wood is important. For most blocks French lime timber is used because it is soft enough to take a pin when the hat is being made. An African hardwood is used for larger blocks as it is lighter to handle. Wood arrives in planks and is sawed and glued to create square blocks. Each piece is then chiselled, gouged and sanded into the required shape by hand.

The Morse-Brown blocks are used by high-end milliners and by film and theatre costume makers. But most – perhaps about 75% – are now bought by hobbyists who create their own hats. “Most are Ascot or wedding hats, but over the last few years there has been an increase in people wanting to make men’s hats, which is fantastic,” said Morse-Brown.

He can sometimes be spotted strolling around his hometown of Devizes in a natty handmade hat, his favourite a brown, long-haired bowler decorated with feathers.

The Morse-Brown catalogue boasts about 500 styles and shapes and the blocks range from about £50 to £350. A week rarely goes by without a customer ordering a new style of hat block.Block of the month on the Morse Brown website is currently FB57 – which allows the creation of a headband-style “hat”.

Morse-Brown talks passionately about the art of making sure the lines and proportions are correct and how the play of light on a block can help the craftsperson make sure new design will work. “The skill base is very particular,” he said. “You need to know about hat making or you will make shapes that don’t work.”

While hat block making is on the red list, the Morse-Brown business is doing well. It moved to bigger premises in 2014 and a couple of part-time workers are employed.

But will the craft be passed down to a new generation? “I’ve got three children and the middle one is pretty keen on doing it,” said Morse-Brown. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Dying arts

This is the list of crafts classified as “critically endangered” by Heritage Craft Association – ie at serious risk of no longer being practised. They include crafts with a shrinking base of craftspeople, with limited training opportunities, with low financial viability, and crafts where there is no mechanism to pass on the skills and knowledge.

  • Clay pipe making
  • Clog making (hand-carved soles)
  • Coachbuilding and wagon making (horse drawn vehicles)
  • Collar making (for horses traditionally with a leather outer and rye straw filling)
  • Devon maund making (a basket made of wooden splints)
  • Fan making
  • Fore edge painting (the application of an image to the edges of the pages of a book)
  • Hat block making
  • Metal thread making
  • Paper marbling (the application of an aqueous surface design on to paper, which can produce patterns similar to smooth marble or other kinds of stone)
  • Parchment and vellum making
  • Piano making
  • Plane making
  • Saw making
  • Spade making (forged heads)
  • Swill basket making (from woven strips of cleft oak)
  • Tanning oak bark (the process of using oak bark tanning to convert raw hide/skin into leather)

On the whole, different villages specialize in different crafts – a division that and other votive objects according to specifications laid down in ancient manuals . Having lain forgotten for centuries under a blanket of scrub, the monument was.

The Forgotten Arts and Crafts

Uzbekistan

Selected in 2017 on the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices

The history of ikat atlas and adras-making technologies in the territory of modern-day Uzbekistan dates back to the Late Antique Period. Historically, Margilan was the centre for making atlas and adras – vivid and fine traditional fabrics. Traditional crafts went through turbulent times during the Soviet period, jeopardizing some ancient handmade production technologies. Due to the acute need to revive and safeguard traditions at risk of disappearing, the local community came up with an initiative to launch the Crafts Development Centre (CDC) in 2007. The CDC’s goal is to safeguard, develop and promote the method of Uzbek traditional atlas and adras making through innovative training sessions, exhibitions and craft fairs, traditional textile festivals, and the publication of safeguarding materials and manuals. The CDC also promotes the use of natural materials, and supports the transmission of knowledge and skills about nature and the universe and their role in ensuring people’s health and wellbeing. The CDC’s success stems from its focus on a spirit of partnership, and the local communities play a key role in its initiatives since there is a common understanding that atlas and adras fabrics are central to their identity.

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forgotten how to crafts manuals

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