The profession of the artisan today


Mostly, in times of crisis like the one that the BelPaese has been going through in recent years, the excellence of the Made in Italy continues to pose a significant competitive advantage in a range of fields, from manufacturing to food: design, fashion, jewelry, pottery, can nowadays be a weapon against crisis.

Aided by the development of digital technology, network and social networks, we are witnessing a new renaissance, albeit slow, of Italian handicraft, which has always been a driving force of the Italian economy: rediscovered and revalued, it manages to get out of a local scope to look out with determination to the global market. Also and especially in cities, where the craft figure had seemed to have lost its importance, artisanship is now finding its rightful importance, new vitality, although significant economic benefits haven’t been expected yet.

Manual dexterity instead of machines, workshops or laboratories instead of factories and above all skills and personal ingenuity in the automatic execution site, even when it comes to using tools or technologies: all this distinguishes the artisan production from the industrial and bestows so much its characteristic qualities (creative originality), as much as its inevitable flaws (long production times and high costs).

In Italy, the craft sector has more than one million companies, that are approximately 30% of the national total, with a clear predominance of micro-enterprises: more than 95% of small businesses employ less than 10 workers, while something less than 80% of workers of the sector, work for companies with fewer than 10 employees. The highest concentration of companies in the sector can be traced in northern Italy, in Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna, although many regions of southern Italy highlight significant growth rates. Thus next to the old artisan figure, today emerges a new, which recurs to digital technologies and new media, either to offer services and visibility to the traditional artisan class or physically create design and craftsmanship.

A new production reality, made by digital artisans, the so-called “crafters”, “makers” and “wwworkers”, which seem to have finally conquered the centrality of this world know-how, re-evaluating Italian history, culture and traditions, compared to a culture of finance and marketing plans disconnected from real production dynamics that have brought us to the current situation.

Todays metropolitan craftsman is obviously a figure whom has been able to bind to  design, new trends and new tastes, bringing its irreplaceable know-how to the changes that have accompanied us in time. CNA (National Confederation of Artisans and Small and Medium Enterprises), Confartigianato and all the associations that are starting to understand the importance of these new workers, have noticed and are organizing themselves to be able to fully support them.