Today marks the start of London Craft Week, the annual celebration of design, craft and creativity throughout the capital.
From 3 – 7 May, there will be 230 events happening all over the city including showcases, workshops, exhibits and much, much more. The aim of this week is to not only celebrate the beauty of a crafted work (be it a fine whiskey, a designer bag or a piece of furniture, like Tetrad’s Castle Bay sofa) but the entire process behind it: the creativity, the attention to detail and all the hard work behind making a vision into something tangible.
At Fishpools, we are incredibly enthusiastic about this collective shift towards appreciating craft. We’re proud to stock our store with the finest pieces for your home from British manufacturers like G Plan, who crafted the gorgeous Malvern sofa (pictured above), to international brands like Cattelan Italia, makers of beautiful Italian dining ranges (like the stunning Skorpio collection, pictured below).
But it isn’t all about recognising the big names. Part of being involved in this craft renaissance is helping up-and-coming designers – those rising stars who will shape the industry in the future. We are proud to be involved with Young Furniture Makers, an educational programme by the Furniture Makers’ Company that nurtures new talent and provides support for aspiring furniture makers.
We were fortunate enough to interview 5 stand-out designers from last year: Jo Baker, Jan Waterston, Sue Blow, Philipp Stummer and Daniel Harrison. Here are a few ‘sound bites’ from these interviews – thoughts on design, where the industry’s headed and where to find inspiration:
‘My sketchbooks are full of lists, questions to investigate, notes of thoughts I’ve had and descriptions of features and details rather than visual representations. My starting point is always a written interrogation of the brief, pulling out the most crucial elements that need to be addressed, and outlining the research that needs to be done to better understand and address them.’
- Designer Jo Baker (full interview here)
‘We are in the middle of a craft revival. This is great news for designers, makers and crafts people as their work is being appreciated widely, and the market is opening up. With social media, work can be showcased anywhere in the world.’
- Designer Daniel Harrison (full interview here)
‘I became absolutely obsessed with the idea of story-telling chairs – chairs that children didn’t just sit on; they inhabited. The first one I did was an underwater chair for one of my granddaughters – it has lots of little stuffed fish all over it, a treasure chest that opens and a cargo net underneath for storybooks. I thought, why should a chair be something passive?’
- Designer Sue Blow (full interview here)
‘I let myself be inspired by everything around me. Nature, architecture, people, my kids…that sort of thing. I don’t ever want to be stuck with one influence. Life is moving on, so is everything else.’
- Designer Philipp Stummer (full interview here)
‘The way I design and work is more a series of questions I’ve learned to ask myself. There’s loads of sculpture out there, and other furniture designs and organic elements that inspire me, but the actual process is more about me getting my hands on the material and asking, can I bend it? Can I twist it? Will the material break? How can I reinterpret this idea that didn’t work before?’
- Designer Jan Waterston (full interview here)
Whether you’re able to make it out to some of the London Craft Week events or not, take this time to appreciate design, craftsmanship and innovation wherever you are! After all, an appreciation for beautifully-made pieces, from furniture (like Parker Knoll’s Hudson sofa collection) to fashion, should be a life-long celebration.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we work with Young Furniture Makers, check out our charities page. And if you’re interested in true craftsmanship for your home, check out the amazing brands we sell in-store and online!