Handmade: A British Craft Exhibition

March 22, 2010

the following is taken from the Fortnums site, which you can link to below.

Thinking that this exhibition is one of the most important events for Contemporary British Craft of the last 20 years. Very much looking forward to seeing the show.

Words by Lucia van der Post

Fortnum & Mason has always prided itself on supporting small artisanal producers who lavish love and care on everything they make.

Whether it be a hand-raised pork-pie from Lincolnshire, some lovingly stirred chutney from Wiltshire or honey from bees on its very own roof, everything it sells is the very best of its kind. So an exhibition of joyous handmade pieces, each with a story of its own to tell, fits in perfectly with all that Fortnum’s stands for. Here under one roof can be seen (and bought) some of the most inspirational, creative work currently being made by crafts people today.

‘In a world where many of us already have too many things we are looking for pieces that have meaning. We want things that are truly special, that have not been churned out in their hundreds at the cheapest possible price.’

We need to have our hearts stirred. Here we find that. Each piece is singular. Whether it is Chris Keenan’s exquisite Celadon Tea set (whose heart wouldn’t lift at being served tea from that lovely teapot), Sian Matthews delicate silver “doilies”, Anna Barlow’s funky Ice Cream Cones or Kenny Menczer‘s beautiful wood sculptures each has a strong and personal statement to make.

‘What I particularly love about this exhibition is that it celebrates true quality and the value of craftsmanship.’

There are some 500 hand-crafted pieces made by over fifty different British craftsmen and women and it’s wonderful to see that these skills, whether of silver-smithing, wood-turning, glass-blowing or pot-throwing, are still alive and more than well. It’s inspiring to see the tea-pot, the plate, the place mat, the glass, the bowl being endlessly re-invented, their forms and shapes refreshed. It’s lovely to find that wit and humour can turn what could be mundane, everyday things into objects of great beauty that one longs to own. What I particularly love about this exhibition is that it celebrates true quality and the value of craftsmanship. I like, too, that it invites one to ponder on the perennial delights of food and dining and why they matter, an underlying Fortnum’s proposition.