Are Speakers An Art Or A Craft? And Are They Useful?

Most people would probably say that loudspeakers are a craft. Certainly speakers that are made of solid natural wood and especially those that are made by hand.

But what is a craft? What’s the difference between arts and crafts? 

Crafts are typically understood to be something functional – something uselful.

Art, on the other hand, relies on something to be novel, surprising or provocative. Sure, art needs to be aesthetic, but the key part of creativity is the surprise it prompts in the human mind. It doesn’t necessarily need to be useful.

So what does it mean to be useful? And how does this help to define craftworks? Here it’s useful to bring in some psychology and biology.

In the 1970s, the American academic, James Gibson, coined the theory of affordances. 

Gibson’s theory of affordance proposes that the environment offers individuals various affordances, which are opportunities for action that objects, substances, and other elements in our surroundings provide. 

Note that normally afford is a verb. A noun didn’t exist in the English language. For example, a person can afford this or that. Thus Gibson came up with the term ‘affordance’ as in, what possibilities are afforded by the objects.

Gibson emphasizes that these affordances are not just physical properties of objects but are also related to the individual’s capabilities. For instance, a chair affords sitting for humans due to its structure and our body’s ability to sit. 

Affordances concern possibilities not only for physical actions, such as jumping or walking, but also for social actions — such as mating, grooming, and offering food.

So perhaps a better question to ask is: what affordances do the Saltwood Sounds Louspeakers possess?

Well, for one thing, the components give rise to music – that’s the most evident – it’s allowing the creativity of others to flow through, which is one of our principles!

The next is the smoothness of the angles and the wood and natural oils which encourage stroking the product. A tactileness. Sharp edges and hyper glossy surfaces don’t (they’re not welcoming and will leave marks).

Here it gets interesting: The height of the speakers afford an important social possibility. The speaker’s drivers are at about the same height of someone’s ears when sitting on a sofa, or better still: the same height as a couple, reclining on a sofa. So, in that in sense the loudspeakers are affording people to recline in a comfortable space and to be loved, embraced, enthralled and enveloped in magic.

So in that sense, you could say that, yes, the speakers are indeed very useful.