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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.