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Production Novellas

About Folkform´s Work With Masonite and Other Materials

Time: Fri 2023-04-14 13.00

Location: Konstakademien - Kungliga Akademien för de fria konsterna, hörsalen, Fredsgatan 12, Sändning börjar 13.30

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Language: Swedish

Subject area: Art, Technology and Design

Doctoral student: Anna Holmquist , Arkitektur, Folkform Studio, Konstfack University of Arts, Craft and Design

Opponent: Professor Andreas Nobel, Linköpings universitet

Supervisor: Professor Sara Ilstedt, Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); Professor Mona Livholts, ; docent Johanna Rosenqvist, Linnéuniversitetet

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Avhandlingen utgjordes utöver boken även av utställningarna:

Folkform produktionsnoveller på Vandalorums konsthall (2019) och

Den sista Masoniteskivan på Konstakademien - Kungliga Akademien för de fria konsterna i Stockholm (2023)

QC 20230331


A large part of the production today is manufactured so far from the consumer that there is no connection to the production. That there have historically been direct connections between an industry and the people, local traditions and material assets of the place is easily forgotten. The thesis makes these relationships visible through an artistic exploration conducted through a combination of materials, form,craft, image and text. Furthermore, through design work, to show how production processes and knowledge of the industrial cultural heritage can be shaped and documented through practice-based design research.

The starting point in the thesis is the design and documentation of Masonite, which the design duo Folkform worked on for more than a decade. Masonite has become synonymous with an entire range of different types of fibreboard. This investigation takes its starting point in sheets of the Masonite brand, spelled with a capital ”M” and a lowercase ”e” at the end, a wood fibre material invented by William H. Mason in the United States in the 1920s. When the last Masonite factory in Sweden closed in 2011, Masonite became a historical and cultural heritage.

This thesis work can be seen as a form of industrial memory research, through design, where the physical material, the piece of furniture and the experiences from ongoing production form part of the investigation. Consequently, these subjects are used to communicate stories regarding manufacturing techniques, places, people and cultural heritage. The documentation, in combination with design work, has developed into an autoethnographic design research method – namely, the Production Novella. This methodology is used by the researcher to apply her own personal experiences as part of the research. The Production Novellas comprise written memories, diary entries, letter correspondence and photographic documentation from the production, along with exhibitions, material samples and also the finished piece of furniture.

In this thesis, the Production Novellas are used as an empirical and narrative method to describe design and manufacturing methods in a practical research context. The thesis portrays the collaboration between designers and craftsmen in various workshops, mainly within the Swedish manufacturing industry. It highlights the importance of a design process close to production and shows the many relationships hidden behind the product’s creation process. ●