The role of craft in contemporary society continues to be of interest. Below is a list of materials on craft.

Recent books

Cunliffe-Charlesworth, Hilary. Craftscity : The Role and Potential of the Crafts to Economy, Employment and Environment. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University Press, 1999.

Dormer, Peter. The Culture of Craft: Status and Future. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.

Dormer presents a series of lively, clearly argued discussions about the relevance of handicraft in a world whose aesthetics and design are largely determined by technology. The question of computer aided design in craft is also addressed. (Available online at Google books)

Lucie-Smith, Edward. The Story of Craft : The Craftsman’s Role in Society. Oxford, UK: Phaidon, 1981.

Risatti, Howard Anthony.A Theory of Craft : Function and Aesthetic Expression. Chapel Hill: North Carolina University Press, 2007.

“What is a craft object? Until now, there has been no formal theory of what actually distinguishes craft from fine art or design. In A Theory of Craft, Howard Risatti compares handmade ceramics, glass, metalwork, weaving, and furniture to painting, sculpture, photography, and machine-made design from Bauhaus to the Memphis Group. He describes craft’s unique qualities as functionality combined with an ability to express human values that transcend temporal, spatial, and social boundaries. With this volume Risatti proposes a theory of craft that recognizes the threats to its continued existence as a field while also making an argument for its preservation.” “In A Theory of Craft, Risatti makes a signal contribution to establishing a craft theory that recognizes and celebrates the unique blend of function and human aesthetic values embodied in the craft object.”–BOOK JACKET.

Rowley, Sue. Craft and Contemporary Theory. St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1997.

This interdisciplinary collection explores cultural perceptions of craft and their impact on contemporary practice.

Sennett, Richard. The Craftsman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008.

“The Craftsman names a basic human impulse: the desire to do a job well for its own sake. Although the word may suggest a way of life that waned with the advent of industrial society, Sennett argues that the craftsman’s realm is far broader than skilled manual labor; the computer programmer, the doctor, the parent, and the citizen need to learn the values of good craftsmanship today.” “In his most ambitious book to date, one of our most distinguished public intellectuals explores the work of craftsmen past and present; he connects physical labor to ethical values; he challenges received ideas about what constitutes good work in today’s world.” “The Craftsman leads Richard Sennett across time and space, from ancient Roman brickmakers to Renaissance goldsmiths to the printing presses of Enlightenment Paris and the factories of industrial London. History has drawn fault lines dividing practice and theory, technique and expression, craftsman and artist, maker and user; modern society suffers from this historical inheritance. But the past life of craft and craftsmen also suggests ways of using tools, organizing work, and thinking about materials that remain alternative, viable proposals about how to conduct life with skill.”–BOOK JACKET.


The Journal of Modern Craft

It is a peer-reviewed academic journal of artefacts that self-consciously set themselves apart from mass production. The scope includes historical and modern craft production, theory, and practice. Emphasis is on studio production and the change in indigenous craft production internationally. (Subscription only)


Abigail Doan: Craft – Design – Environmental Art – Fiber – Gardens – Seeds

Abigail Doan is a writer and environmental artist residing in New York and rural Italy. She experiments and visually explores with different ecological art projects and crafting made by herself and others as a means to create sustainable solutions.

Craft Research

Craft Research is the blog for the craft research team at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, at the University of Dundee. The site has links to everything related to craft theory and research including the researchers’ reading list and conferences attended.


American Craft Council Online

The American Craft Council is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1943. The council promotes understanding and appreciation of contemporary American craft Programs include the bimonthly magazine AMERICAN CRAFT (free), annual juried shows presenting artists and their work, a 2006 leadership conference on craft, the Aileen Osborn Webb Awards honoring excellence, a specialized library with an online catalogue, workshops and seminars. The council and its resources are more geared towards the production of craft rather than craft theory and its implications.

Ontario Crafts Council (OCC)

The OCC is a nonprofit organization that promotes the interests of Ontario craftspeople and helps them find business support. OCC publishes Studio magazine, and CraftNews which showcase craft with profiles of leading makers, reviews of exhibitions, new books, and business opportunities (subscription only). CraftSource, combines the Annual Craft Shows Book and Craft Resource Guide. OCC exhibition catalogues can also be downloaded. The sites Portfolio of Makers allows users to browse craftspeople by region, media, or name. Regional crafts events are listed as well as support programs for craftspeople, government information, and links to other craft organizations.

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