From ‘Heritage Adepts’ to Historical Reconstructionists: Observations on Contemporary Estonian Male Heritage-Based Artisanry

Madis Rennu, Liisa Tomasberg, Art Leete


On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted between 2007 and 2013, the authors analyse the communities of male artisans that have had the most significant impact on the development of contemporary Estonian handicraft. A wide range of artisans were surveyed in the course of this research, from professionals who earn a living from handicraft to amateurs, small enterprises and handicraft instructors. The authors concentrate on the motifs and background of different categories of handicraft agent. Details of handicraft practice such as mastering specific items, local peculiarities and materials used will be also explored. The analysis is predominantly based on the artisans’ views on proper ways of making handicraft items, their marketing strategies and the needs of developing their skills. The study demonstrates that artisanal initiatives support the material reproduction of cultural locations through constant renewal of heritage ideology and practice.


crafts; artisans; heritage; hobby; woodwork

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ISSN (print) 1736-6518. ISSN (online) 2228-0987. JEF is a joint publication of the University of Tartu, the Estonian National Museum and the Estonian Literary Museum.