I’m just back from a whistle stop tour of Clerkenwell Design Week, the newest and, in my opinion, most exciting of the UK’s design festivals. There were product launches and conversations, exhibitions and installations but what struck me was that at the heart of almost everything was a celebration of making. It seems to me, that as our lives become increasingly hands-free, the more we need the objects we live with to connect us with their maker. That the design world is rising so magnificently to this challenge is a cause for celebration.
Here are some of my highlights:
Pinch (whose Twig stool is currently on show at our exhibition, Crafting Design Making for Pleasure at the Wilson http://www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk/Default.aspx?page=280) is a design studio dedicated to expert making and quality materials. Their new Avery arm and dining chairs, made from solid pippy English oak, is as as spare as a sketch and utterly beautiful. www.pinchdesign.com
Nigel Matthews hand-makes his quietly quirky pots in his studio in Bakewell, Derbyshire. He was one of five UK makers showing at CDW as part of The Makings of Luxury, a micro-exhibition looking at contemporary interpretations of timeless skills. You can see short videos describing making process of all the work on show at www.themakingsofluxury.com ; www.nigelmatthews.com
This exquisite embroidered wallpaper is a perfect example of what can be achieved when high-tech and hand-craft are combined. The base layer has been screen printed by hand and then over-laid with digital embroidered patterns resulting in an affordable paper that has all the tonal variations of a totally hand made piece. www.custhom.co.uk
A collaboration between rising talent Sebastian Cox and furniture company Benchmark was bound to result in something considered, perfectly crafted and utterly contemporary. This Shake cabinet features doors made from cleft chestnut shakes and some very fine dove tail joints. http://www.benchmarkfurniture.com/#!div51 ; www.sebastiancox.co.uk