Surely you’ve noticed the trend. Everywhere you look, there is another micro business popping up with handmade, home grown, local, craft, organic, small batch… you name it. Historically rooted craftsmanship popping up everywhere.
This is not quite along the lines of running away to live with the Amish (though this guy did for a year, and my nine year old self seriously wanted to after a visit to Amish country with my mother).
However, these trends do touch upon something deeper, which I see happening at this particular moment in time – a broad quest to connect with our roots. From the countless ventures and experiments in going “back to the basics”, in art, fashion, the food industry, farming, breweries, distilleries, and on and on… to the popularity of living history projects (Plimoth Plantation and Colonial Williamsburg, for example). The move to follow these longings for renewed connection through history is only increasing. It is a focus on the traditional that is both artistic and practical, and often innovative. Yet this is not the first time in history we have seen such a thing.
Just as the Arts & Crafts Movement in the 19th century was a reaction to the dramatic cultural changes of the Industrial Revolution, so today there is this growing movement which seems to be a direct response to the Technology Revolution in our own era. A pendulum swing, not flinging us backwards through a filtered lens, but to connect us with our roots in order to find our way forward. Creating innovative ways to live well today by learning from all that history can teach us.
I call it the Heirloom Arts Revival.
With globalization upending previously understood realms of economy, labor and leisure, how do we re-evaluate the nature of work, the nature of rest, the role of art in society, the effect of beauty in our daily lives, and the way we interact with other cultures? How do we re-align our lives and our hearts to life in the modern world? This, I feel, are the questions this movement is asking.
I also want to explore how tapping into our world’s complex cultural heritage through art and bringing history to life can transform our conversations about immigration, support for artists and their work, and even our approach to history education.
Join me in my quest to interview and photograph artisans, crafters, creators, and performers across cultures whose work is rooted in history, and my long-range dream to create beautiful photo essays of every living history museum on the planet.
Follow and support my artwork, including the Heirloom Arts project, on Patreon and on this blog.