However, until the late twentieth century, there was rarely any indication that production could be outsourced to these countries. Making it oneself was an essential commitment.
As the leader of this movement, Bernard Leach wrote: Laborious hand-methods have almost been abandoned in the western world, but a craftsman is not worth his salt if he makes no effort to preserve this natural joy in labour’ (Leach 1978: 187). It is thus worthy of note to see a trend towards the outsourcing of handmade craft, following the exodus of mass manufacture. This kind of globalization is occurring not at the level of factory production, but more along the lines of bespoke’ workshop production.
Artisan workshops are now setting themselves up to take commissions from overseas urban designers.3 Given the trend towards transparency in ethical consumerism, this craft outsourcing has the potential to engage urban dwellers with issues of production. To understand this better, it is important to map forms of collaboration between designers and craftspersons in terms of transparency and equality. By this means, it is possible to see how outsourced handmade production might avoid the race to the bottom’ of labour arbitrage.
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