With the rise of the virtual has come a renewed interest in the material. Evidence of this renewed interest is everywhere in pop culture, from steampunk to Maker Faire, from Readymade to Make to Etsy, from yarn bombing to LED throwies. We see it in craft: the handmade mandolin, the carefully stitched quilt, the custom cabinet. We see it in the vinyl resurgence and the newfound nostalgia for the mix tape. We see it in the Bamboo Bike Studio. We see it in the resurrection of Polaroid film by the IMPOSSIBLE project. Even as we go further into digital culture, we’re getting up from the computer to hold stuff, to make stuff, to shake stuff. And yet, there’s a sense that renewed interest in the material is facilitated by digital networks. That is, we go online to learn about craft, to meet-up with makers, to feed our fetishes. We send pictures of our creations from our digital devices to our social networks. All over the Web non-technical people are using new media to create, arrange, redesign, archive, and distribute their crafts. As they do, new techno-folkways are being passed down not only via new tools and networks, but also--as William Graham Sumner writes in his seminal book, Folkways--by "tradition, imitation, authority.” Folkways--the paths worn by mild social pressure--are being trod online. This panel will explore the various crossroads where craftwork meets network, with special attention paid to bridging the digital divide in rural America.
Driven by his passion for learning, Collin Farill has been a practicing industrial designer since graduating from Virginia Tech in 2003. He is also first mate and pressman for his wife Julia Farill at her letterpress studio Red Bird Ink.
Together with his business partner, Travis Ekmark, Collin recently founded Object Trust, a progressive design studio. Collin and Travis are also founding members of The Southern Design Concern, a collective of designers working in the American South.
Nate Kreuter grew up in rural Virginia, in the shadow of Purgatory Mountain. After working as an intelligence analyst for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Nate entered academia, and he currently works as an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina University. Nate writes about representations of complexity in language, the intersection of the digital and material, ethics, and the rhetorical canon of style. More of a tinkerer and less of a craftsman, in recent years Nate has floated down the Mississippi River on a homemade raft, and built a cabin in New Mexico in the architectural style of the Unabomber (otherwise known as Late 20th Century Luddite). Additional information about Nate and his work is available at .
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