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Published: 22 November 2014

By Andy Ross

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The role of creativity

The role of craft has been much under discussion this week. From a conference online to 3d printed sculptures, the idea of what is craft has made us think and consider.

On Thursday, a live stream from the Craft Council's Make:Shift conference brought together panellists to chat about and discuss craft, especially the crossover between craft and other disciplines. There was lots to ponder and wonder about, from textiles incorporating printed electronics through to colour changing fabrics, and quite a lot about the new technologies which are changing the way we live.

As we are now the proud owners of a so-called "3d printed" stag beetle and can fully appreciate the level of skill that went into making this creature/ sculpture completely articulated down to moveable antennae, the idea that craft is something that has to be entirely handmade has shifted. It is incredibly complex to create something like this and with the advent of new technologies which can help us to realise our own potential, the skills needed will shift too. 

So it was interesting to hear about the crossovers between craft and, say, surgery. It may be old news to some, but it is very useful to have a reminder that craft is not simply for making things but is also a way of thinking which can help to create new ways to overcome problems. And, following on, the BBC hopped along for the ride this week with a piece about the value of creativity to engineering with its lack of skills becoming apparent. Indeed, a truly inspirational week has been had.