All around the British Isles, our makers’ materials have been gathered, their work benches cleared and tools poised in preparation to create enduring pieces of exquisite beauty and individuality for discerning customers.
We are delighted to be sharing ideas from a glorious spectrum of works which can be skilfully crafted for you and will be introducing you to our Craft Patrons who will share their experiences from years of commissioning joy. This week we explore the delectable world of the TABLETOP.
Around The Table We Go
Is there anything more satisfying than laying one’s own table? Whether a simple meal for oneself, an intimate supper for two or a gaggle of family, friends and loved ones coming together for a feast of food and folly. The table is something we gather around time and time again, and with it the objects, pieces and paraphernalia we put on it and around it to make for the most delightful and necessary of rituals - whether it’s glassware blinking in the candle light, a satisfyingly textured teapot for your breakfast tea, a mismatch of crockery made from pigmented clay, or a comfortable seat that you can slowly sink into as you digest your supper. It’s the small details of the rituals that take place around the table that are so important and should be indulged in at all times.
PAUL ANDREW ON COMMISSIONING PIECES FOR THE TABLETOP
We asked Paul Andrew, Creative Director of Salvatore Ferragamo four questions about why he loves to commission work by craft makers and the particular value craft adds to his tabletop and his life in general.
What value does commissioning craft bring to you personally?
Few things excite me more or speak truer to the person that I am than the discovery and celebration of fine craftsmanship. The personality of an artisan is conveyed through his or her work; the nuances of any hand-crafted piece imbue a sense of irreplaceable value. And as a designer, whose background lies heavily in the construction of Italian-made luxury shoes, I have the utmost respect for makers who integrate beauty, efficacy, and artistic storytelling into everyday objects. I feel that to commission craft is a next level of appreciation for a maker’s wares. It’s the time-honored role of the patron, tapping an inspiring talent and encouraging the individual to bring their specific beauty into the world.
Describe your favourite or first commission?
I found my way to London’s The New Craftsman upon the recommendation of my dear friend Caroline Issa, and promptly fell in love. She knew how much I adored the work of far-flung artisans, how excited I would be to learn the origins of unique items I would encounter or champion craftspeople with powerful stories to tell. Well, The New Craftsmen blew my mind. To think all these extraordinary offerings made from a spectrum of traditions, all borne right out of the UK. I felt home at last. So there I was, worshipping this gorgeous, colourful selection of stemware and water glasses from the artist Jochen Holz. Though many of the items there spoke to me, I wanted -- better said, needed -- this glassware for my new apartment in Florence. Perhaps it was selfish of me but I was excited and I bought almost everything they had - about 20 pieces in total. Upon their arrival in my new home, I was overjoyed by their individual nuances, colour combinations, and organic manner of working together in harmony. They felt like a small church choir, each responsible for its own note and together creating a harmonious song. The only thing was, I hadn’t ordered enough wine glasses. And, as mentioned, I had purchased the last of their stock of Holz’s glasses! To avert this crisis, and it felt like one at the time, I turned to Nicholas, The New Craftsmen’s exquisite, pink-haired Private Client Sales Manager. She is a sister in my love of all things craft, and a fabulous go-between for artisans and patrons. With her help, I was able to commission Jochen Holz to create enough glasses to complete my collection. I can’t express how exciting it was for them to arrive. These magical items had been created, upon my request. My admiration for Holz’s talent led to the creation of just a bit more beauty for the world to enjoy. It was a special moment, and I hope to commission work from more artisans throughout my life.
What do you consider when choosing and commissioning tableware for your home?
Nothing just accidentally finds its way into my home. I know to some that may sound ostentatious, but I really care about my surroundings. I’ve been blessed with a good life for which I am grateful, and part of that gratitude involves honoring my living space and whatever populates it. As for tableware, there are everyday occasions, fun gatherings, and the celebrations. I encourage anyone to disrupt their more humdrum meals with their finest wine glass or handmade ceramics, even if it is just to drink juice or eat oatmeal in the morning. At the same time, a thoughtfully set table is a work of art in itself. That’s why I love these Jochen Holz glasses so much. They have an organic sensibility to them – colour combinations that suited the artist on the day they were made, an organic ball at the top of each stem that varies in shape and size -- as any handcrafted item will. I let the table elements come together through inspiration -- the flatware and dishes calling to one another. They have personalities that laugh and converse with one another, which in turn bring conversational energy to the people who dine together at my table. Welcoming beauty without a whole lot of preciousness, that is a table worth feasting at.
What advice would you give to someone commissioning a craft maker for the first time?
Put as few limits upon the artist as you can. It’s like that with any art. As Creative Director of Salvatore Ferragamo, I have a team of designers and makers who bring our collections together. Were I to micromanage and scrutinize their offerings without giving credence to their individual creativity, I would miss out on the most significant and impactful ideas that make our pieces and looks successful. When I limit myself as an artist – even setting too rigid a parameter for something – the creation process tends to be difficult and it feels forced. Artists receive great ideas, rather than generate them out of nothing, like channeling them from the beyond. So, when commissioning a piece from an artisan you admire, provide them with jumping-off points but then trust their gifts. They will pretty much always delight you.
COMMISSION YOUR OWN TABLETOP PIECES
Across a beautiful spectrum of colours, finishes and materials from our talented makers, you can commission pieces to transform your tabletop into something meaningful and extraordinary.
If you have seen something you feel your tabletop cannot live without or would like to share your ideas for commissions with us, please contact Nicholas Rogers our Private Client Sales Manager, who will be delighted to discuss your thoughts and requirements further.