The New Craftsmen, making craft exciting again.

The New Craftsmen is a beautifully British concept that strives to bring a greater awareness of British craft and a new appreciation of its outstanding quality. With a desire to present "exceptional pieces made to become the heirlooms of tomorrow" the company is unearthing the most unusual and the best of British craft in all its forms - furniture, lighting, decorative objects, jewellery and textiles. 

 The New Craftsmen hosted talks at the V&A Museum during London Design Week discussing the future & relevance of craft. 

The New Craftsmen hosted talks at the V&A Museum during London Design Week discussing the future & relevance of craft. 

By giving a contemporary context to age-old art forms, with 21st century branding and marketing, the New Craftsmen is creating excitement around what had become a worthy but unsexy part of the art world. Cool design brands have been wooing a growing number of people who love art and design, encouraging them to hanker after new releases rather than seeking out new artists. Brand and designer awareness has to some extent overtaken the recognition of artists and craftspeople and any real understanding of how things are made. But The New Craftsmen is dedicated to changing all that. 

 The NatureLab by the New Craftsmen in collaboration with the Crafts Council wit work by Marlene Huissoud, Marcin Rusak, Eleanor Lakelin, Jochen Holz, Emily Gardiner and Joseph Harrington. 

The NatureLab by the New Craftsmen in collaboration with the Crafts Council wit work by Marlene Huissoud, Marcin Rusak, Eleanor Lakelin, Jochen Holz, Emily Gardiner and Joseph Harrington. 

Founded by Mark Henderson in 2012, the business opened its retail space in Mayfair in June 2014 and has been creating quite a stir in recent times. Its various events at this year’s London Design Festival were amongst the programmes best. Design daily has already discussed several of the artists exhibiting as part of NatureLab presented by The New Craftsmen in collaboration with the Crafts Council at the British Craft Pavilion but this was just one of several events organised by the innovative craft platform. You can see some of NatureLab on a previous design daily post here. NatureLab included exceptional examples of contemporary craft by woodturner Eleanor Lakelin, ceramicist Emily Gardiner, glass artist Jochen Holz, glass sculptor Joseph Harrington, long with artist / designers Marléne Huissoud and Marcin Rusak.

 Makers House in London's Soho was a collaboration between Burberry & The New Craftsmen.

Makers House in London's Soho was a collaboration between Burberry & The New Craftsmen.

Makers House was a collaboration with British fashion house Burberry where several makers demonstrated there craft in the environs of a beautiful building in Manette st in Soho, London's historical home to theatre, film and the performing arts. 

 Inside Makers House - an authentic looking work area dimly lit by naked bulbs & surrounded by a huge array of cotton thread.

Inside Makers House - an authentic looking work area dimly lit by naked bulbs & surrounded by a huge array of cotton thread.

As the name would indicate Makers House showcased makers at work fashioning their wares to the delight of visitors. The makers included sculptor Thomas Merrett, textile designer Aimee Betts, bespoke embroidery artist and jeweller Harriet Stiles and silversmith Grant McCaig. 

 Thomas Merrett at work on one of his sculptures.

Thomas Merrett at work on one of his sculptures.

Makers House also included the assemblage artists JamesPumb who presumably did less actual making and focused more on their canny assemblages involving ancient furniture elements and strange new (or impossibly old) materials and methods.

 Aimee Betts (foreground) working on her woven textile lighting cables at Makers House. 

Aimee Betts (foreground) working on her woven textile lighting cables at Makers House. 

Crafthouse at Decorex, within the grounds of stately home Syon Park was another of the New Craftsmen's LDF events. Four room sets were created around four distinct themes Eating, Bathing, Sleeping and Working with the work of a small number of specific craftspeople represented in each. 

  Eating: Clay & Scorched TImber  was one area within the Crafthouse installation executed by The New Craftsmen at Decorex. Nic Webb was able to show of his immense ability in both ceramics and wood.

Eating: Clay & Scorched TImber was one area within the Crafthouse installation executed by The New Craftsmen at Decorex. Nic Webb was able to show of his immense ability in both ceramics and wood.

  Bathing: Jesmonite & Glass  - tiles in Jesmointe ( gypsum & resin) by Malgorzata Bany was exhibited alongside extraordinary glass pieces by Jochen Holz.

Bathing: Jesmonite & Glass - tiles in Jesmointe ( gypsum & resin) by Malgorzata Bany was exhibited alongside extraordinary glass pieces by Jochen Holz.

 An image depicting the essence of the  Sleeping: Pigment & Threads  room at Crafthouse. Georgia Kemball textiles living in harmony with Pedro da Costa Felgueiras' hand ground lacquer finishes.

An image depicting the essence of the Sleeping: Pigment & Threads room at Crafthouse. Georgia Kemball textiles living in harmony with Pedro da Costa Felgueiras' hand ground lacquer finishes.

  Working: Wicker and Wood  the final room in the four room set up of The New Craftsmen's  Crafthouse at Decorex.

Working: Wicker and Wood the final room in the four room set up of The New Craftsmen's Crafthouse at Decorex.

Beyond events created  on a regular basis throughout the year, The New Craftsmen provides a retail outlet for contemporary British craft. The company has a bricks and mortar store around the corner from Selfridges in Mayfair but also an online shop that displays a wide range of handmade products ranging from door handles to complex furniture pieces.

 Nic Webb's 'Pushed Form' exemplifies the way craft has moved away from remarkable exhibitions of skill to a more emotionally charged art which resonates with audiences keen for imperfection.

Nic Webb's 'Pushed Form' exemplifies the way craft has moved away from remarkable exhibitions of skill to a more emotionally charged art which resonates with audiences keen for imperfection.

 Sebastian Cox's 'Scorched Shaker' sideboard. 

Sebastian Cox's 'Scorched Shaker' sideboard. 

 The 'Cherry daybed' by William Waterhouse with hand blocked fabric by Louisa Loakes.

The 'Cherry daybed' by William Waterhouse with hand blocked fabric by Louisa Loakes.

The New Craftsmen store in London can be found at 34 North Row, London, W1K 6DG just around the corner from Selfridges and is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

For more on the products, makers and activities of The New Craftsmen go to their website here.