Stimulating Everyday Creativity: Mediating Role of New Tools in DIY Craft

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Jiaxin ZhouDuoduo Zhang

Abstract: Everyday creativity has been shown to help people consciously develop themselves, respond to challenges, feel more in control of their destiny, and maintain a healthy state of mind and body. Through creative practices, people's possibility thinking is strengthened, they can adapt to the changes of the environment more flexibly, and actively participate in actions that promote social change. However, the current research on daily creativity mostly regards it as a holistic concept, lacking in depth in specific fields and attention to the characteristics of the current era, which makes it often difficult for designers to find effective ways to promote the benefits of creative activity.This paper focuses on the popularity of contemporary DIY crafts in urban areas and try to understand how the renewal of tools has an impact on everyday creativity. On the one hand, DIY crafts are an important part of everyday creative activities. On the other hand, the application of digital and mechanical tools has injected vitality into the design innovation in this field. Based on the perspective of post-phenomenology theory, this research pays attention to how technological objects affect human perception and behavior patterns in specific situations, and mediate the relationship between people and the world. For designers, the term "technology" in post-phenomenology can be regarded as "designing artifacts", its mediating role can be understood and anticipated, and the "advanced" design method that moralizes technology can help bring users more positive use experience and contribute to a better life world.The study takes the new tufting experience as a case. It is typified by the use of tufting guns, which makes it different from the traditional weaving behavior. Such activities are widely spread on the Internet, attracting large numbers of young people. Using practice-led research and ethnographic methods to collect data and conduct qualitative analysis, the author elaborates that technological interventions not only functionally enhance people's ability, but also shape actions and experiences. According to Ihde’s discussion of four “human-technology-world relations”, in tufting activities, the first embodied relation between tools and participants mobilizes more sensory participation, and the “ready-to-hand” state of the tufting gun brings about a different embodied perception from that of traditional crafts. Secondly, the hermeneutic relation influences people's perception of the difficulty of crafts, and the connection between wool and cloth has been translated into the vibration and sound of the gun. The third is the alterity relation, which represents people's actions and ways of thinking are changed in the interaction with tools. Finally, the background relation makes pop culture permeate into the creative process. In general, participants’ sensory experiences, as well as their ways of seeing and making are reshaped by modern tools, and new experiences and skills are acquired. At the same time, people are encouraged to go beyond the limits of skills and rules for creative exploration and personalized expression.The potential negative aspects of tool upgrading in creative practice are also concerned. For example, the simplification of the process bridges the gap between novice and expert, preventing most participants from reaching a higher level of skills that underlie a more subtle and diverse insight into the world. Moreover, while tools help reduce the occurrence of errors, they also limit the possibilities for creativity. Finally, the article identifies the opportunities and challenges for designers in this new era that encourages everyone to create, and suggests strategies for incorporating the mediating role of artifacts into the design process to help users stimulate their creativity in everyday creative practices.

Keywords: everyday creativity、DIY craft、postphenomenology、technology mediation

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003396

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