Ever since our early ancestors’ dexterous hands formed the materials surrounding us into items required for everyday life, adorned the environments we inhabited and helped us make sense of wondrous worlds around (and within) us, the ‘craft baton’ has been passed from generation to generation; the resonance of the conversation, seeped with deep wisdom, child-like curiosity and ambition, has reverberated within communities of makers and their patrons, across the ages.
10 years ago, a freshly-born The New Craftsmen was welcomed into this illustrious community and began to join in the conversation. To mark the occasion of reaching a decade in age, we invite makers to reflect upon, and take inspiration from, the evolution and uses of their craft, along with the skill and imagination of makers across the centuries, responding with their own pieces. As early as the human race, the making traditions we will delve into next year are those exploring plants and clay:
PLANT: The Economic Botany Collection at Kew reflects humanity’s ever resourceful, ingenious and imaginative approach to finding practical and beautiful solutions for their needs - from dyestuff, musical instruments and teaware. We have invited a group of makers (including renowned basket makers, weavers and woodworkers) to examine and interpret a myriad of objects and their narratives, presenting their own crafted responses during London Craft Week (May 2022).
CLAY: The makers' starting point for new works will be a visit to the banks of the Thames with an Intertidal Archaeologist, and a visit to the Museum of London’s ceramic archive (which dates back to Prehistoric times). Fragments of pottery and small objects discovered on our muddy adventures act as tiny portals to the traditions and innovations of global potting communities brought together by this ancient river, and reveal how we have lived with craft in our daily lives through millennia. The makers’ contemporary works, sparked by the research, will be launched later in the year during London Design Festival (September 2022).
Also to look forward to in 2022, we are delighted to announce the launch of our new podcast series. Continuing the ‘Reasons for Being’ theme launched in 2020, we hear from long-standing, and more recent makers, of our community, in conversation with friends (from chefs, collectors, architects and fellow-artists) about their personal motivation, ambition and reason for making. We’ll also be introducing fresh new work from these makers as well as celebrating classic and iconic pieces we’re proud to have developed with them and include in The New Craftsmen’s collection.
Catherine Lock and all at The New Craftsmen