Masters and Apprentices of Textile Craft

Annelie Holmberg

Abstract

This article describes how the craftsmen at the workroom at Handarbetets vänner, Stockholm, learned their craft skills during the years 1948‒2012. What this knowledge consisted of and how the apprentices’ knowledge grows into skillfulness. Interviews with 15 weavers and embroiderers who have worked during the time period form the empirical material. The period of time was chosen according to the informants´ times of employment.

The strategies for learning are affected by dialogue between the craftsmen, both a verbal and a silent dialogue. The dialogue is an important part of the learning even though the making is central. The workroom forms its own way of making textile art, a way of doing that is learned from master to apprentice. In this situated knowledge, the different masters have their own ways of for instance mixing color and material, all corresponding with core values. The learning is also affected by the artistic leader and the artist.

The learning within the workroom occurs in the making of objects, but never at the cost of the quality of the objects. The core values of the establishments, and the fact that there is a strive to be profitable, makes the circumstances. The collaboration with the artist in creating unique textile art is the primary goal; the learning is something that is taken for granted in order to withhold the competence in the establishment.

Keywords: textile craft, master and apprentice, craftsmen, textile art, workroom

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Copyright (c) 1970 Annelie Holmberg

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