“Crafted”, a feature-length documentary tells the story of New England through the vehicle of traditional Heritage Crafts and of the people who make them, highlighting the vital role they play in the preservation of cultural heritage and the sustainability of global resources.
Heritage Crafts are more than just functional objects; Heritage Crafts are vehicles of story. When you look at a basket, you are looking at the hands that made it and carried it, the natural materials of the land that bore it, details of the everyday life that necessitated it. Stories of who we, where we came from, and even the history of our region & landscape are within the form & material of our Heritage Crafts. By examining the evolution of the tangible things made by inhabitants of this region ( shelter, clothing, tools, transportation, art) and through interviews with local archeologists, historians and the crafters still working with traditional designs and techniques, this documentary will tell the story of the people of New Hampshire & wider New England. Additionally, it will promote sustainable & ethical practices as shown through traditional crafting using traditional techniques and natural materials as opposed to mass produced objects.
For this documentary project, a heritage craft is defined as “A practice which employs manual dexterity and skill with an understanding of traditional materials, function, design and techniques, which has been practiced for two or more successive generations” (Heritage Crafts Association, UK)
This documentary will identify the historic area of significance of a given craft, the area where it’s still practiced and when it first appeared in this area. This may be at:
- Regional level (New England, Northeastern US)
- Geographical level (Connecticut River Watershed, Phytogeographic Region)
- Local level (Tribe, town, neighborhood, family)
As our development and ability for mass production processes has increased (mass productions of objects that were originally hand-crafted), people that have generations of experience and training in crafts are being made redundant. We’re losing an critical link to our own cultural heritage representing traditions, beliefs and values of our community and region. This documentary aims to add value and relevance to traditional methods of producing functional objects, additionally showing these methods as a means to live sustainably and more ethically.
As stated by UNESCO, in the convention to safeguard Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Traditional craftsmanship is perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage. However, is mainly concerned with the skills and knowledge involved in craftsmanship rather than the craft products themselves. Rather than focusing on preserving craft objects, safeguarding attempts should instead concentrate on encouraging artisans to continue to produce craft and to pass their skills and knowledge onto others, particularly within their own communities.” This documentary works toward that end, focusing on & encouraging the support of the artisans working within our region and promoting the continued knowledge and skills of the traditional heritage crafter, while highlighting the significant challenges to their lifestyle and craft.