Plant Explorations: Makers Reimagine a Historic Archive at The New Craftsmen
Gareth Hacker and Elena Heatherwick May 6, 2022
For a decade, The New Craftsmen has been at the forefront of the British contemporary craft movement, championing meaningful craft that has been playfully imagined and properly made. To mark its ten year anniversary, The New Craftsmen has invited its community of makers—including artists, woodturners, basketmakers and furniture makers—to reflect upon and take inspiration from the evolution and uses of their craft across the centuries. This month, it stages Plant Explorations—a response to and reflection on humanity’s resourceful and ingenious making traditions with plants. Here’s a look:
The group exhibition will be unveiled at London Craft Week (May 9 to 15) and includes the work of six makers who are already represented by The New Craftsmen: Annemarie O’Sullivan, Catarina Riccabona, Hilary Burns, Lola Lely, Maggie Smith, and SASA Works, alongside four exciting new makers: Cyriaque Ambroise, Lisa Atkin, Pip Rice, and Takahashi McGil.
Earlier this year, the makers were invited to explore the Economic Botany Collection at Kew Gardens, home to over 100,000 objects that represent how life depends on plants and how humans have made use of plants for millennia. The makers were guided through the collection by the ethnobotanist and curator, Mark Nesbitt, and Ruth Stungo, a leading scholar of basketry and visiting researcher at Kew Gardens.
Working closely with Catherine Lock, the creative director of The New Craftsmen, each maker has responded creatively to their findings at Kew and the result is a dynamic new collection of work that encompasses furniture, lighting, tableware, basketry, and artwork.
“Plant Explorations” will be exhibited from 9th May at The New Craftsmen showroom and available to view and purchase online.