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Craft Production

5.2.1 Define craft production and one-off production.

Craft production
A small-scale production process centered on manual skills.
One-off production
An individual (often craft-produced) article or a prototype for larger-scale production.
Shaker Craftsman Shaker Furniture

Craft production refers to the process of manufacturing a product though the use of manual skills. Such as a worker assembling a product without the aid of an automated process. Some products like pottery, or other ceramics, are usually craft-produced, as there is no machine which can create objects such as these.

Craft production is generally seen as prestigious, as each product manufactured would be unique. These differences, however, can hurt the product if the assembly was not completed properly. Early auto-mobiles were assembled in this manner, and some problematic outcomes resulted from the human error in the production process.

One-Off production is where only one or a few specialist items are required. If a prototype is made then it is usually part of the realisation of a product and so the next step after testing would be batch or volume production.

Examples of products made include prototypes (e.g. car or clothing production), specialist models, hand crafted items (e.g. jewellery, shaker furniture), specialist engineering, specialist architecture (e.g. individual homes, skyscrapers, hotels like the hydropolous) and just plain old one offs (e.g. Ocean liners).

Specialist Guitar for musicians.

5.2.2 Describe why most products were manufactured by craft techniques prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Refer to the development of skills; sources of materials and energy; sales and distribution; relationship of craftsman or designer with client or consumer.

Hand craft: A skill, especially involving practical arts. It may refer to a trade or a particular art. Hand crafted products is part of a manufacturing industry known as cottage industry. Cottage industry refers to the manufacturing of products at a workshop or at home rather than in a factory. Artisans would set up a workshop, such as a smithy for blacksmiths, taking orders directly from the customer.

The advantage of the cottage industry (or domestic system) was that labour was cheap since there was very little work on farms and in overpopulated parts of the country; additionally the workers often provided and took care of their own equipment.

Industrial Revolution: Period between the late 1700’s and the early 1800’s marked by the rise of new inventions, such as the steam engine perfected by James Watt, for the advancement of transportation, industry, and agriculture.

With the the invention of the steam engine manufacturing became mechanised. Due to this new source of energy production increased. New materials could be developed that led to an engineering and production boom. Steam engines were invented and therefore materials could be retrieved from further a field, similarly products could be sent further thus opening new markets. During the Industrial Revolution, all kinds of goods were mass-produced, including textiles, iron and metal goods, and pottery. These goods were then sold in the domestic market and as exports to customers abroad.

The result of this was a need for more skilled workers and with a new set on non-traditional skills. The relationships changed whereas before the client/consumer would go to the designer/craftsman because of the cottage industry, now, The designer may not necessarily be the craftsman and the consumer may have no need to visit the designer but just go tot he shop.

References (MLA Format)

5.2.3 Explain the advantages and disadvantages of craft production.

Consider economies of scale, value of the product, labour, market forces and flexibility of manufacture.

Advantages: A lot more care is put into making the product as good/nice as possible, therefore the quality tends to be seen as considerably higher than something that was mass-produced. The product can also be customised to fit personal needs, and there is a good deal of flexibility for the designer, customer and craftsman. Much skill is often required for the craftsman; therefore they are able to charge more for the manufacturing of the product.

Disadvantages: Although the manufacturing process doe not require machines for the producer, it takes a great amount of time and effort; therefore it becomes much more expensive for the buyer. Also, with craft production it is not possible to produce on a larger scale. This could mean a loss of profit for the manufacturer, however the higher prices of craft produced products can sometimes make up for this. Another disadvantage may be that the product is not designed for disassembly, so if something goes wrong during the making of it, there are no interchangeable parts. Every piece also becomes more valuable so any defects will be more important.

5.2.4 Discuss the importance of craft production for developed and developing countries.

Economic development, infrastructure and market needs should be considered, but also the rise of the “master craftsman” in industrialized countries.

Craft production is important for the economies of developed and developing countries. As machine-made goods are becoming more and more common, hand-made products are becoming rarer to find; hence, enforcing importance to craft production not only helps spread and keep the country's traditions and culture, it also promotes a greater economy. For developing countries, it is especially advantageous to the poorer or uneducated population. They can produce traditional crafts using the knowledge and culture they know, as well as make a living through it. The work and effort that goes into a craft is more precious and unique than a mere machine-made product, leaving a unique selling point for producers and traders of hand-made products. Therefore, the global economy should support craft produced products more. Considering financial issues, craft production is very cheap to uphold and provides the craftsman with revenue, whilst improving the country's infrastructure. - Omar Elabd

A young Egyptian rug weaver


Bulleted list and italicised paragraphs are excerpted from Design Technology: guide. Cardiff Wales, UK: International Baccalaureate Organization, 2007.

Images are clickable links to its location.

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Page last modified on January 13, 2015, at 01:40 AM