It’s already time for the fifth edition of the ‘Retorno del sentimiento’ project (The Return of Feeling), hosted by the Arts and Crafts Centre of the Valencian Community (Centro de Artesanía de la Comunidad Valenciana). This projects joins together artisans and prodigies in the world of design in order to develop objects that combine traditional techniques and materials with the needs of a modern society. Altogether, 40 pieces have been designed by students at the Models and Prototypes Workshop, which forms part of the Polytechnic University of Valencia’s (UPV) School of Design Engineering’s Industrial Design and Product Development degree course. Along with pieces by exchange students from Chile and Taiwan, they have been made into real objects, thanks to the experienced hands of local artisans.

The exhibition, commissioned by Manuel Martínez Torán, design professor at the UPV, and Helios Roser, forms part of the activities carried out in the framework of the collaboration agreement signed in 2012 between the UPV and the Ministry of Education, Investigation, Culture and Sport in Valencia to boost innovation in the craftsmanship sector in the Valencian Community. The subject of this year’s show is the Silk Road, which coincides with Valencia being named the City of Silk for 2016.

Retorno del sentimiento 5.0 is an example of the fusion between artisan techniques with current and vanguard design, which reflects the recent trends about how craftsmanship has adapted itself to new times, offering current pieces that are also to the taste of modern consumers. Craftsmanship as a culture has evolved towards a craft movement, towards globalisation, co-creation, and towards a new relationship with consumer 2.0.

In this sense, the link with design could play a fundamental role and facilitate that meeting between creativity and business, the basis of the artisan sector. And in fact, this link has already yielded national and local prizes, as in the ‘Coopetitivitat’ category of the recent Valencian Community Craftsmanship Prize, in which student Raquel Inat and the company Domanises were awarded for their project In Flames, which was displayed at the previous year’s Retorno del Sentimiento.