I was walking across the courtyard at Somerset House this morning at 815am, on the way to a panel I was sitting on as part of the Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional Showcase which Walpole British Luxury has curated with the support of patron Vacheron Constantin.
The exhibition features the work of 20 craftmakers who have been mentored and supported by the Walpole mentorship programme, Crafted. (It’s only on for three days, finishing this Saturday. Do visit if you get the chance: it’s small but perfectly formed.)
My fellow panellists Gillian de Bono, Editor in Chief of FT How to Spend It, Tony Chambers, Editor of Wallpaper*, Deyan Sudjic, Director of The Design Museum and I discussed the significance of craftsmanship to luxury brands, businesses and industry, and the role that craftsmanship plays in the luxury story, along with the perception of luxury brands and their products.
The discussion led also to an analysis of international customer attitudes to craftsmanship, why we are seeing such a interest in the skills and artisans behind luxury brands’ products and how craftsmen can distinguish themselves and their small businesses in the marketplace.
The exhibition explores British luxury craftsmanship in four themes – A Craft Perfected; A Tradition Preserved; A Life Devoted and A Business Nurtured. This collection of works by talented and pioneering artisans aims to demonstrate their passion, dedication and expertise, and bring to life the entire creative process – from rare raw material to valuable finished work.
The 20 craftmakers are: Angus Ross, Breanish Tweed, Bailey Tomlin, Carréducker, Cumbria Crystal, Shawstephens, Eloise Gray, Fair Isle Knitwear, Gaskell Quartz, Helen Amy Murray, Jacqueline Cullen, Jessica Poole, Mr Smith, Natasha Daintry, Ndidi Ekubia, Ptolemy Mann, Rothschild & Bickers, Sasha Wardell, Sophie Coryndon and Wayne Meeten.
Whitby jet jewellery by Jacqueline Cullen
From the stitching on a calf-skin leather handbag to the intricate metalwork on a statement mirror, expert craftsmanship is at the heart of all luxury goods. This showcase offers a unique insight into craft excellence by recreating the artisans’ workshops in Somerset House’s West Wing, and elevating the time-honoured expertise and interactions between art, design and skill of hand.
Typography by Mr Smith
4–6 April 2013
West Wing Galleries, West Wing, Somerset House