I have just returned from Decorex and what an unexpectedly inspiring day it was. The theme for this year’s show was the Georgians and the organisers really did embrace the era’s spirit of innovation and craftsmanship, presenting several In the Making feature areas (I watched Watts of Westminster hand block some wallpaper and Nepalese master weavers create a rug for FRONT London) and a Future Heritage showcase.
Michael Eden from Adrian Sassoon at Future Heritage
Wycliffe Stutchbury at Future Heritage
Superbly curated by Corinne Julius, Future Heritage is a celebration of 21 of the most talented makers working in Britain today. Michael Eden’s form-challenging rapid prototype ceramic vessels (top) rub shoulders with a wall piece by Wycliffe Stutchbury (above) formed from pieces of ancient bog oak excavated three to four feet below sea level, while Laszlo Beckett’s exquisitely crafted and digitally cut cabinets (below) mix with Natasha Kerr’s poignant textile portraits (below middle) and Joe Bradford’s beautiful polyethylene vessels (bottom).
Laszlo Beckett at Future Heritage
Natasha Kerr at Future Heritage
Joe Bradford at Future Heritage
Decorex International 2014 runs at Syon Park, Brentford TW8 8JF until 5pm on 24th September so go if you can. Otherwise, take a look at the Future Heritage website – www.future-heritage.uk
There is so much to see at this year’s London Design Festival that my head is spinning. It will take time to digest, but in the meantime these are my highlights:
1. Xenia Moseley’s ladder for Richard and Ab Rogers. Part of the Wish List project on show at the V&A, this is a thing of simple, functional beauty with an added surprise in the shape of a leather slung seat and a folding table.
Richard Rogers & Xenia Moseley Wish List Ladder for Benchmark
2. The Landmark Project by Airbnb in Trafalgar Square. Four little houses presenting four personal visions of what home means. My favourites are by Patternity and Raw Edges – the latter a brilliant response to the problem of small space living.
A Place called Home, Patternity for Airbnb
A Place called Home, Raw Edges for Airbnb
3. Lorna Singleton and Sebastian Cox’s Swill collection for The New Craftsmen because it brings together two young craftspeople using traditional skills to create contemporary pieces for sale in the heart of Mayfair.
Swilling at The New Craftsmen
4. Paul Kelley’s burnished bronze building blocks.
Bob System by Paul Kelley
Cirquedelic Red/White by Loophouse
The noon day sun is still hot but the sharp early mornings are a sign that the season is changing and that means we all have an excuse to go shopping. Top of my wish list for the coming autumn is a lambswool blanket by Loophouse. (£195, 140x190cm, including fringe.)
Founded by Lorraine Statham back in 1992, Loophouse is firmly established as one of the UK’s most interesting and innovative rug companies, but this is the first time the brand has used some of its contemporary repeat prints on blankets. And what a great idea it is: the designs are bold and graphic, the colours rich and the yarns soft. Blanket perfection in other words.
The blankets launch next week at the London Design Festival and go on sale in mid-October (we like to be ahead of the news at SITSelect) but you can pre-order now at www.loophouse.com.
Reflections Peacock/Natural by Loophouse
Reflections Grey/Natural by Loophouse
I finally got myself to Tate Britain this week to see the much-praised exhibition British Folk Art. And what a joy it is. Showcasing an eclectic selection of genres and media from the 17th to mid-20th century, it has been curated as a series of loosely connected encounters. This light-handed approach works well, leaving the viewer to look on at these – mostly anonymous – artefacts with wonder and delight.
My favourite piece was an exquisitely formed and uncannily realistic Bone Cockerel, made sometime around 1797 by a French Prisoner of War from bits of bone and improvised tools. There is plenty to delight textile fans too, including George Smart’s paper and fabric Goosewoman, Mary Linwood’s extraordinary woven pictures in the style of the Old Masters and a quilt made by soldiers injured in the Crimean War.
Goosewoman by George Smart
The show runs at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1 until 31st August. Open 10am – 6pm daily. Contact 020 7887 8888; http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/british-folk-art
Chipping Campden has a long-standing association with craft and design and that tradition is continuing this summer with the arrival of two must-see exhibitions.
Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show.
Photography Steve Cadmon
The first is Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen’s eagerly anticipated summer show, which runs until 20th August, and features work from 24 Guild members, plus guest glass artist Sarah Brown and some the best of this year’s graduates from Hereford College. Everything is for sale and there are also opportunities to watch demonstrations and meet the makers themselves. www.guildcrafts.org.uk
Candelabrum by Robert Welch. 1956
The second is ‘Robert Welch, Inspiration and Innovation’ up the road a Court Barn. Welch, who set up his workshop and studio in Chipping Campden, achieved international acclaim as a cutlery and product designer and this exhibition includes major loans such as his 1956 Silver Candleabrum from Goldsmiths Hall, which was inspired by the first UK exhibition of Jackson Pollock’s work. Not to be missed. www.courtbarn.org.uk
The Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show is at Chipping Campden Town Hall, High St, GL55 6AT until 20th August. Open daily 10am – 6pm. Please note, the show closes at 4pm on Wednesday 20th.
Robert Welch, Inspiration and Innovation is at Court Barn, Church St, Chipping Campden GL55 6JE until 28th September. Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.
Ptolemy Mann. Photograph Alun Callender
It may be the holiday season but here at SITselect, we are busy planning our autumn programme. There are a treats a-plenty in store but we are particularly delighted to announce that on Wednesday October 15th, we will be staging a day of discussion and debate at Heal’s Quarter Cafe in Tottenham Court Road, London.
Flutter collection by Peter Ting
The Maker and the Retailer looks at the vital but thorny issue of combining craft with commerce. The first of the three sessions sees internationally acclaimed ceramicist Peter Ting (whose Flutter design has been used by Oasis Stores for one of their A/W 2014 fashion collections) discussing the role commerce playing in fostering innovative craft and design with textile artist/designer Ptolemy Mann and Heal’s Creative Director Carmel Allen. In the second, Gemma Waggett, RCA graduate and founder of e-store Nothing by Navy, will talk about getting started, her next career steps and reveal her exciting new work. And in the third, Guy Hills, co-founder of Dashing Tweeds, will tell the story of this exciting, innovative and distinctly idiosyncratic textile and menswear company.
Guy Hills, photograph by Charles Gervais
And as if that isn’t enough to tempt you to London, the ticket price also includes a very delicious lunch shared with the speakers. Not to be missed.
The day runs from 10.45am – 3pm at Heal’s Quarter Cafe, Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7LQ. Tickets cost £32 and can be purchased via our website, http://www.stroudinternationaltextiles.org.uk/heals.html
We love a success story here at SITSelect, particularly when it features an artist who has taken part in our very own festival, so we were thrilled to hear that Laura Youngson Coll (http://www.laurayoungsoncoll.co.uk) has been awarded this year’s Perrier Jouet Arts Salon prize.
Launched in 2013, the prize focuses on makers whose work is ‘inspired by natural forms and organic structures’, reflecting the champagne brand’s own Art Nouveau heritage. Youngson Coll’s leather and vellum sculptures, which many of you will have seen at Select at Newark Park in May, are inspired by the minutia of the natural world. She takes saturated leather working techniques such as on-layering, pairing and manipulating, which are more traditionally used in bookbinding and uses them to create exquisite works of art that question the way we think about both her materials and her subject matter.
As well as a substantial cash prize, Youngson Coll also wins the opportunity to stage a solo show at the Contemporary Applied Arts gallery. It runs until 31st August and should not be missed.
Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery, 89 Southwark St, London SE1. T: 020 7436 2344; http://www.caa.org.uk/
Laura Yongston Coll at work
All Consuming by Cleo Mussi
This week, we bring you news of an unmissable new show at Stroud’s Museum in the Park. www.museuminthepark.org.uk. All Consuming, a 70 piece solo show by internationally acclaimed artist Cleo Mussi, (www.mussimosaics.co.uk) opens on July 19th.
As always, it is easy to be beguiled by the wit and decorative beauty of Mussi’s extraordinary mosaics but these pieces also offer serious social commentary on the ecological and economic perils facing contemporary society. For example, the text accompanying the title piece (pictured above) reads: ‘To market to market/With my little basket/To buy bonds and shares/And a homogenized franchise. /To market to market/To buy a free market/With plenty of debt/And fictional targets. /What ‘sports’ we are/To hunt and gather/’For too much of a good thing/Is not a good thing’ at all.
Take your time or go twice.
All Consuming runs at The Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 4AF from 19th July – 27th August. Open Tues-Fri 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m; weekends and Bank Holiday Monday 11.00 a.m – 5.00 p.m Contact 01453 763396; www.museuminthepark.org.uk
Nature Recycles Everything by Cleo Mussi
Peggy Angus Designer, Teacher, Painter by James Russell
A rather lovely new book has just arrived on my desk celebrating the work of Peggy Angus. A highly talented designer, inspirational teacher and accomplished painter, Peggy Angus was a contemporary of Eric Ravilious, Edward Bawden and Enid Marx but although her work was celebrated at the time, her name is less well known today. Which is a shame because she was a key part of the visionary post war building programme and her Modernist, geometric tile and hand pressed wallpaper designs have a very contemporary resonance. James Russell’s richly illustrated monograph has been published (by the Antique Collectors’ Club) to coincide with an exhibition of Angus’ work at the Towner, Eastbourne. I sense a welcome revival in the air.
Left: Carter’s of Poole catalogue showcasing the designs of Peggy Angus, 1950s; right: Cover of Carter’s Quarterly Bulletin, November 1951, featuring Peggy’s tiles and showing the effect of repeating simple shapes.
James Russell’s monograph, ‘Peggy Angus Designer, Teacher, Painter’ is available from The Antique Collectors’ Club, rrp £25. http://www.antiquecollectorsclub.com/uk?text=peggy+angus&price_min=&price_max=&publish_date_from=&publish_date_to=
‘Peggy Angus Designer, Teacher, Painter’ runs at the Towner Eastbourne from 12th July – 21st September. Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4JJ. Contact +44 (0)1323 434670; http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/peggy-angus/
Tile mural, Glyndwr University, Wrexham, incorporating leeks and dragons, late 1950s
The New Craftsmen
This month brings good news for lovers of beautiful contemporary craft: the expertly curated store that is The New Craftsmen has graduated from pop-up to permanence a mere hop and a skip from Selfridges at 34 North Row, London. Appropriately enough for a business dedicated to showcasing the skills, processes and traditions of British craft makers, the 19th century building it has made its home was originally a workshop making leather breeches.
The 2000 square foot showroom showcases work from around 75 British makers including potter Billy Lloyd, hand block printer Cameron Short and hand weaver Catarina Riccabona. This is shopping at its best.
The New Craftsmen, 34 North Row, London, W1K 6DG, +44 (0)207 148 3190; http://www.thenewcraftsmen.com/our-mayfair-shop/ Opening hours Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11am – 7pm; Friday, Saturday: 11am – 6pm