In August Nicola and I are heading to Japan to work with traditional craftspeople there and learn about how they are working to share traditional skills. Nicola did her PhD looking at how traditional skills are exchanged in the UK and this will form part of her ongoing research, she is also doing publicity for the event and has a very informative blog. from which I have shamelessely stolen the post below.
Kesurokai meetings started in Japan in 1995, organised by the highly respected temple carpenter Sugimura san. His aim was to bring together different craftsmen who normally work remotely to exchange traditional craft techniques and knowledge.
These events serve not only the practical purpose of ensuring age-old skills are maintained, but also create a sense of community amongst the craftsmen, helping them maintain their businesses. The Kesurokai movement has around 1500 members in Japan and holds twice yearly meetings all over the country.
A friend just brought this web site to my attention which has some images from a Kesurokai meeting in 2006 which show just how large and well attended they are:
There are also some really superb videos on the web site showing how various woodworking tools are made.