Thursday, August 19, 2010
It seems only a few short years ago that exhibitions where makers could display their furniture were few and far between, with the highlight of a typical year"s slender pickings being Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in Cheltenham, currently on until 23 August. Now that is still a magnificent show, and Jason Heap, who took it over from the redoubtable Betty Norbury, is wisely updating it and putting his own stamp on things, what with this year"s chair competition and encouragement of young makers like himself, but over the past two years there seems to be much greater awareness of the power of shows to attract public interest in bespoke furniture.
Antiques of the Future is popular in London, Northern Contemporary Makers hold an annual show and now Scottish makers are inviting the public to see what they can do, with exhibitions in Inverness, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Individual designer-makers are holding shows too, like Max McCance in Glenrothes, Fife, and the father of today"s makers, John Makepeace, starting off a show commemorating his 50 years behind the drawing board and chisel at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen"s Bovey Tracey gallery on 18 September which will travel all around England over the next year.
Not only do these shows bring exciting design to the public but they encourage makers to come up with ever more interesting ideas and find out how to execute them, thus keeping the craft very much alive.
Designer-makers, I salute you!