History of Handicrafts


Life style and social patterns of a society, being the direct influence of the accumulated heritage of the ages past, distinguish and differentiate one community from another. Culture therefore, is moral, intellectual and spiritual discipline for advancement, in accordance with the norms and values based on the accumulated heritage. It is imbibing and making one’s own the lifestyle and social pattern of the group one belongs to. The internalization and socialization of cherished values for enlightened and refined way of life, is indeed a long process. It is moving continuously from darkness to light, from sophisticate to imbibed simplicity, to sweetness and truth. Our culture is the handiwork of time. For its origin and development, one has to span through the history of several thousand years. Change and continuity are its attributes, and flexibility its basic characteristics. Each human group that settled here in pre-historic times, made its contribution to it. When customs operate for a fairly long period and acquired the strength are generally referred to as traditions of the society. Traditions may, therefore, be defined as customs of a very long standing. Since culture is a matter of tradition, it varies from one group or society to another, and it is this cultural variability that explains why social life in one place is different from another.

In the twenty-first century, there has been a great resurgence of interest in knitting, quilting, weaving, pottery, and a number other crafts. Many people in Western society who earn their living by relying on impersonal technology seek out a satisfying hobby that will allow them creative expression in their free time. It also provides them with an opportunity to learn arts and crafts that have been enjoyed by previous generations of their families. In turn, handicrafts or handmade items reveal much about the person and culture that created them. By studying the materials, techniques, tools, and patterns, we can tell with reasonable accuracy the time in history that an object was produced, the location and the culture or tribe that created it, and in most cases, the purpose of the object, whether for everyday, ceremonial or decorative use. Handicrafts Through World History examines the crafts of jewelrymaking, needlework, quilting, weaving, pottery, and metalwork, identifying the history and development of each craft through time, and the tools, techniques, and people who have made their contributions to the craft from all over the globe. After an introductory overview, there will be a timeline to trace the important developments in the craft from ancient times to the present. Following this will be up to 75 entries, examining people, places, terms, tools, techniques, and historical periods in the history of the craft, with illustrations as appropriate. Each entry will have print and web resources for further reading, and the volume will end with a general bibliography
Excavations have found inroads into very ancient times. Archeology has revealed the secrets preserved by the earth in its crust.

Excavations of tools help us understand the nature of production and the aesthetic standards of the period to which they belong.
The particular period and appeal of a handicraft item can be gauged from the number of industries, technique of production, types of goods produced and materials used. This state reflects the aesthetic sense of the people, curvature of objects, lines, space, light and shades. An examination of the visual arts, such as sculpture, paintings and terra-cotta unveil the element of art. Not all crafts were produced for daily needs.
Tools used today reflect the traditions of the early age, as old as the Stone Age. The rural and tribal artisans use processes and techniques inherited by them from their forefathers in the creation of their crafts. Though the tools used in that age were mainly for survival purposes, the making of these tools required considerable amount of skill.

The Stone Age man adopted the 'hammer stone' method to make flake tools. This require striking the mass stone near the edge at an angle of 120 degrees with the convex surface of a water worn pebble selected as hammer stone. This was perfected and put to use in the making of hand axes. Tools are a very important component of this art. This is the beginning of the age long tradition of handicrafts.

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