The word “artisanal” is has been so often misused, that it can be really difficult to point it out in simple words a single concept that fits every kind of process or product. And the same goes for handmade, handicraft and others. Frequently we see those words in labels as a form of marketing more than an actual true description. And is not difficult to understand why when you give it more thinking. So, what artisanal means? Usually when a final product is called artisanal what it means is that it was created by a person without an automatic stage during the process. It implies personal attention during the whole process and also suggests the choice of good ingredients and a low scale production. It is used in opposition to industrial products and processes, to mass production and its high replicability .
Typically the narrative of handmade or artisanal is used as a way to give a more healthy and natural status to a product or food as if an industrial product, with its often complicated formulas, were always inferior to ingredients known to mankind for centuries or millennia. This is not always the case but is undeniable that to consume something that has been used by humankind for much longer is usually the safer choice, and also the more sustainable one. But all that doesn’t provide us a strong definition of what artisanal means, only says about what we expect when we buy an artisanal thing, not about the concept itself. Doesn’t help that in some areas the definition is quite blurry, to say the least. For example, it not that obvious when a distilled liquor can be called artisanal, in some countries the law regarding the use of artisanal and its similar on the label just require the production of a small batch, nothing more, it doesn’t say anything about the nature of the liquor itself, or even its components.
In some other product, there is an effort to try to define artisanal by some specific detail on its process, like in some places if the milk has been pasteurized then the cheese produced with it cant be called artisanal. But that means the real difference between an artisanal cheese and an industrial one? Can you call a cheese produced on a small farm, by cows know by names, where one or two-person are responsible for the whole process, where these people personally checked every cheese the same adjective that a cheese created in a fabric where the milk is treated with several different chemicals and conservatives, among other huge differences? Can you say they are similar in the whole process, of quality, or social and ecological impact? Doesn’t seem fair to say they are the same.
It is understandable the need to cut a line about what means to be artisanal when it comes to law and control proposes, but the discussion only reveals that artisanal is a changeable concept that depends on the purpose. With that in mind here in Artitus we want to propose a concept that will hopefully guide our work reception. To define what means artisanal is a question where we need to offer our answer, and it is our current position, it is by no means a final definition. Artisanal for us means something that has been created with care for a one or small group of people (10 at most) with the intention of being sold, otherwise can be understood as a hobby. And by care we mean with special attention concerning the quality of its materials and the final result. We don’t mean by any means that something created as a hobby or through industrial process doesn’t possess quality, but we are defining an artisanal product as something that have been brought by an artisan, someone who choose not only a mere activity of a final product but a way of life. Artitus project is about those people, and it is about to bring to people a visual material about what it means to be artisanal.