‘A fantastic subject, with a great panel of speakers’
‘ It was all so inspiring’
‘A meeting of heroes’
These were just a few of the comments delegates wrote on the feedback sheets following the SITSelect Symposium Designing Craft Crafting Design last Saturday.
An audience of around 60 makers, commentators and academics from near and far (we had a contingent from Cork and someone had flown over from New York) gathered at Stroud College to listen to and take part in a series of discussions about craft and design.
The day began with Grant Gibson, Editor of Crafts, Mary Greensted, Chair of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen and leading contemporary designers Simon Pengelly and Nick Munro discussing whether or not there still a distinction between craft and design. We discussed the Victorian’s fascination with machinery, the Arts and Crafts movement’s championship of the handmade, the impact of current education policies and whether it matters what makers call themselves (and broadly concluded that it doesn’t).
This was followed by a debate around the question, does craft have to been hand made with Harriet Wallace-Jones of textile design studio Wallace Sewell, ceramicist Michael Eden, basket maker and willow artist Susan Early and Stephen Lewis of wallpaper and fabric manufacturer Lewis and Wood. The answer was no, yes and somewhere in between but one thing everyone was agreed on was that the skill of the maker is at the heart of both good craft and design.
The afternoon featured talks from three of the UK’s brightest talents. Textile designer Fay McCaul revealed her extraordinary, light-filled knitted fabrics and explained what persuaded her to be expensive and proud. Sebastian Cox inspired us all as he talked us through his passion for sustainable design and finally wallpaper designer Tracy Kendall proved just why she has just won two awards.
The very talented Scott Norris of Gloucester University’s film department, aided by his brother Bradley, filmed the day and we will be making that available on line very soon. In the meantime, you can listen to makers and commentators revealing what the word craft means to them by clicking the links below and add your own voice to the debate via our Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/stroudsit
Wayne Hemingway: https://vimeo.com/89020754
Ian Rudge: https://vimeo.com/89020753
Ella Doran: https://vimeo.com/89020752
Nick Ozanne: https://vimeo.com/88794106
Liz Lipiatt: https://vimeo.com/88901724