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British luxury and crafts: Makers of the Exceptional Show in London

British luxury and crafts: Makers of the Exceptional Show in London
Yareah Magazine
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From left to right: A presentation case, crafted by Method Studio for Swiss Watchmakers Vacheron Constantin; Wine Cups by Ndidi Ekubia, crafted using Britannia Silver. Photography credit: Jeremy Johns Photography; A specially-designed, hand-made high chair made using rippled ash, crafted by Katie Walker, originating from a tree felled in the Longleat Estate in 2001.

British luxury and crafts: Makers of the Exceptional Show in London at the Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens, from 3-5 April 2014.

‘Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional’ as selection panel reviews applications for 2014 intake.

Walpole British Luxury announces a diverse line up for the ‘Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional’ showcase, a celebration of innovative British craftsmanship that brings together the UK’s best contemporary designer makers and is an integral part of the Crafted mentorship programme, which pairs makers with luxury British brands. The showcase, held in association with Vacheron Constantin, takes place at the Royal Academy of Arts Burlington Gardens, from 3-5 April 2014.

The April showcase has been curated by craft champion Peter Ting. Divided amongst the several galleries of the Royal Academy, Burlington Gardens, there will be nearly 30 exhibitors displaying, and in some cases, demonstrating, their ceramics, jewellery, metalware, textiles and furniture.

Objects of Excellence, in Room 7, will highlight just some of the success stories of previous Crafted alumni, using both background sketches and finished objects to expose the making processes behind the unique projects that have resulted from makers’ participation in the programme. Amongst the objects in this section, will be a bespoke presentation box by Method Studio, commissioned by Vacheron Constantin, a series of one-off trinket boxes by Ruth Tomlinson, commissioned by Halcyon Days, and a high chair for Prince George by Katie Walker.

The showcase will be a celebration of excellent craftsmanship across a variety of disciplines. Some works on show can be worn, such as the unique headpieces from milliners Bailey Tomlin and Katherine Elizabeth Hats, bespoke shoes from Carréducker, jewellery from Ruth Tomlinson, Jacqueline Cullen and Sabine Roemer, and Fair Isle Knitwear, offered by the only bespoke maker of the ‘Fair Isle sweater’ on Fair Isle.

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Wine Cups by Ndidi Ekubia, crafted using Britannia Silver. Photography credit: Jeremy Johns Photography

Others will focus on decorative objects for the home, including various applications of silverware from Ndidi Ekubia, Alex Ramsay, Rauni Higson, Wayne Meeten, and Shona Marsh, glassware from Cumbria Crystal and Gillies Jones, and ceramics from Billy Lloyd.

Cabinet-making and furniture will also be represented, alongside textural surface designers Helen Murray and Ptolemy Mann, textile designer Margo Selby (rugs bed linen), contemporary furniture makers Katie Walker and Method Studio, social enterprise and furniture restorers Out of the Dark, and handmade bed makers Daniel Spring. Hand-blown glass lighting from Rothschild Bickers, lacquer work by Sophie Coryndon, and Mr Smith’s letterpress workshop complete the set.

Joining these exhibitors will be the Crafted programme mentorship class of 2014, to be selected by a panel of luxury industry and craft experts including Michelle Emmerson, Managing Director of Walpole British Luxury, Crafted Founder and Chairman Guy Salter, Sarah Elton, Chairman of Debrett’s (panel chair) and Ed Mason of Mason Campbell on 5th March 2014.

Walpole British Luxury represents 175 of the UK’s biggest luxury brands, including Alexander McQueen, Mulberry, Theo Fennell and Wedgwood. Through Crafted, the group aims to nurture new talent and discover the luxury brands of tomorrow, supported by Vacheron Constantin, who became patrons of the programme and annual showcase in 2013. Both are committed to preserving the increasingly rare artisanal skills so integral in today’s luxury market, making them natural patrons of the programme.

Crafted was initially established in 2007 by Walpole British Luxury in association with Arts & Business, with the goal of offering one-to-one mentorship for 10-12 individuals whose businesses rely heavily on craftsmanship. Founded by Programme Chairman Guy Salter, Crafted’s aim is to nurture a sense of entrepreneurship and boost business acumen among its artisans by pairing them with representatives from more established brands.

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Crafted. Makers of the Exceptional

Michelle Emmerson, Managing Director of Walpole British Luxury, says, “Craftsmanship is fundamental to the luxury market and is a driving force in the rapidly growing British creative industries. Through partnering individual craftsmen with established luxury brands from the Walpole British Luxury stable, we aim to offer these talented designers an opportunity to take their passion to the next commercial level whilst promoting and developing the British luxury market.”

Juan-Carlos Torres, CEO of Vacheron Constantin says, “We are delighted with the positive response the Crafted programme and showcase has received so far. With the support from the Royal Academy this year, we can be sure that the showcase will continue to thrive. Vacheron Constantin’s dedication to the preservation of fine craft is not only a passion – it is a duty.”

Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy, says, “The RA is delighted to host the second annual ‘Crafted: Makers of the Exceptional’ in Burlington Gardens. This year’s exhibition, in association with Vacheron Constantin, promises to be a remarkable showcase of modern British design from both established and new artists. This great initiative to support home-grown craftsmen is appropriate to the RA, which was founded to promote the arts of design. We are very proud to be part of it.”

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