Commissioning Craft: The Art of Beauty for the Home

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.

Over the next four weeks we will 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 inspiring world of ARTWORKS.

The Art of Beauty for the Home

The Art of Beauty for the Home

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful” said William Morris once upon a time. Here, here!

But sometimes simply being beautiful is in itself a very useful thing.

Firstly, artworks are in fact incredibly versatile - there’s a place for them in all sorts of corners and surfaces around the house.They can adorn a wall; complete a shelf or a sideboard; be squeezed in next to and nestled in between books or stand proudly on a plinth; or they can sit on our bedside table and be the last thing we see when we go to sleep and the first we see when we wake up.

Because artworks, and their beauty, hold a very special power. Whether a vessel, sculpture, figure, mobile, or wall-hanging, they can lift us up when we see them; beckon to us to approach and take a closer look; they can completely change the energy in a space and our own energy with it. And, most importantly, they can help us connect with other people, places, cultures just by being near them.

If that’s not useful, I don’t know what is?

We invite you to bring art and beauty into your home with these array of makers and artists. Studio visits with each maker, whether virtual (available now) or physical (when possible), can be arranged to discuss available works or utterly unique pieces developed just for you and your home.

TOM AND LISA HELME ON COMMISSIONING ARTWORKS

Tom and Lisa Helme

We asked Tom Helme, Co-Founder Fermoie and Lisa Helme, Carskiey Partner four questions about why they love to commission work by craft makers and their particular love and fascination of beautifully crafted artworks.

What value does commissioning craft bring to you personally?

Tom: Often when commissioning you are helping to bring about either a resurgence or a renaissance in a particular craft. Some 40 years ago traditional paints, especially coatings like limewash, were immensely difficult to procure and very few knew how to use them. Working with the National Trust I was lucky to see an almost dead trade brought back to life. Many craftsmen are doing this today and it is great to support them by commissioning new work.

Lisa: Finding a craftsman who really takes something ordinary and puts their unique stamp on it is incredibly exciting, especially when that skill is becoming rare or almost extinct. That’s why the work undertaken by QEST and companies such as The New Craftsmen is so important.

Describe your favourite or first commission?

Tom: Mystery, as in how something is made, plays a great part in an object’s beauty. This is as true of a Velazquez portrait as it is of a slipware bowl. Our first commission from The New Craftsmen, and a favourite, is a willow salmon trap from the Baskets of Britain Collection which we use as a light pendant in a beach cottage that overlooks the estuary - somewhere we feel sure they were once commonly used. Though we know what it is made of, how, starting in a copse, is a complete mystery and very much part of its beauty.

What advice would you give someone starting to collect and commission craft?

Tom: Don’t think of it as “starting a collection”. Choose your first pieces for their beauty alone. From these you will instinctively choose which to start collecting.

Lisa: We had our dining room table painted by the wonderful Sara Allan, who also designed a rug for us. There is always something new to see in both, and although they have been around for over a decade, we get great enjoyment out of them. Additionally, they are very good talking points and therefore wonderfully useful at stopping any uncomfortable conversation silences! Both pieces were commissioned to be the important or main piece in the room and then we decorated the rooms around them. Using a commissioned piece as the focal point in a room is a good starting point.

Which makers have you collected and what do you admire about their work?

Lisa: We recently came across Aude Van Ryn’s small terracotta, colourfully glazed sculptures at The New Craftsmen. They look fantastic as a single piece and wonderful as they were displayed in the showroom as a line-up of 7 or so. You can see the kind of illustrator that Aude is in these pieces and I love their playfulness. It’s important to have pieces around you that bring a smile to your face and these certainly do each time I see them.

The Art of Beauty for the Home

COMMISSION YOUR OWN ARTWORK

Across an alluring and fascinating array of materials, discover our range of artworks - from delicate sculptures to statement pieces - that can be commissioned from makers at The New Craftsmen now.

Download The Artworks Catalogue

If you have seen an artwork you like or would like to share your ideas for commissions with us, please contact our Private Client Sales Manager, Nicholas Rogers, who will be delighted to discuss your thoughts and requirements further.