Reason for Being

As we entered lockdown last year, we launched Reason For Being - a collaboration with 12 of our makers that shone a light on their creative and emotional reaction to lockdown and isolation. For the launch, our Creative Director, Catherine Lock, wrote a few words introducing the campaign and its meaning to us as a business and our maker community. Read more below.

Reasons for Being: Annemarie O’Sullivan Photography by Jonathan Bassett

Dear Friends,

Three weeks ago, when we were jet-packed into the parallel universe we temporarily inhabit, I moved around my little London home trying to adjust to my new reality: my own four walls, objects and memories as company, my life experience and inner resolve enabling my fortitude, and imagination as a beacon to shine a light on paths ahead.

As the days roll from one to another, I made peace with my pared-back lifestyle and fairly quickly the stuff which feels important to me came sharply into focus: my health and that of others; my community (and the technology which allows us to be with them); good food (note to self: must learn to grow vegetables); nature (the unstoppable blossoming of spring); and my creativity, which fizzes and overflows the more our daily lives are restricted.

I begin to wonder about the Gift of Creativity which some people have courageously chosen to devote their lives to challenging and expressing, and my mind turns to the extraordinary makers who have coloured my life with the vibrancy of their work. Where are they? How are they coping? What’s bubbling up inside?

Frances Pelly is on her croft in Orkney, Scotland “with the fields, hill and shore to hand, mending the polytunnel, preparing veggie production to share.”

Pedro da Costa Felguerias is in his Whitechapel home nursing his much cherished, currently injured, dog Rita, whilst thinking of his mother in Portugal.

Aude Van Ryn is juggling home-schooling children, harvesting rhubarb and attempting to get to her ceramics studio (“an artist is never bored, Catherine” she says to me).

Annemarie O’Sullivan is in Sussex, finishing orders, planting seeds, and awaiting the arrival of nightingales.

William Waterhouse is in Peckham building dens for his daughter Flo with anything deemed as ‘useful material’ and creating cassoulet from the contents of their fridge.

Through it all, each one refers to the silver-lining of this moment – TIME. A time to adjust, organise and plan; a time to explore ideas which have be gnawing at them; a time to reaffirm who they are, what they believe, and what makes them tick. Their ‘Reason for Being.’

So, together, The New Craftsmen and its makers, have made a commitment to bring structure and purpose to this time. Over the next twelve weeks, twelve makers will interpret the moment we find ourselves in, and what it is teaching us about ourselves, through a series of deeply personal stories and creative expressions. The New Craftsmen’s virtual windows (our website, newsletters, and social channels) will become the gallery walls, plinths and sketch books to celebrate the unique creations and collections from our makers - both new and existing - and continue to inspire and nurture our supporters and friends around the world. We hope the small seeds we sow in this time will grow, flourish and bring us ‘out the other side’ even more committed, energised and focused on what we love and we believe to be true.

We would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your continuing support. With your help, we believe we can make small, and ever-so-slightly-magical, transformations happen.

Catherine Lock, Creative Director and co-founder
(on behalf of The New Craftsmen team, and family of makers)

Explore the current collections of those makers involved in 'Reason For Being' and watch for new collections launching over the next 12 weeks:

Aimee Betts

Annemarie O’Sullivan

Aude Van Ryn

Craig Bamford

Frances Pelly

Gareth Neal

Jo Waterhouse

Jochen Holz

Joe Hartley

Louisa Loakes & William Waterhouse

Michael Ruh

Pedro da Costa Felguerias