'What makes every craftsperson unique?' - This is the question design journalist Barbara Chandler has asked in her exploration ahead of the Design-Nation: Marks & Tools exhibition. Arguably, it’s the “marks” they leave on their materials, from the big picture of shape and colour and overall texture, to the smaller details of lips, rims, spouts, cuts, joints, edges, seams, pleats, folds, stitches and so on. Pattern can be crucial, as makers print, glaze, engrave, emboss, incise and mount to finish their work.
Above(L to R): Sue Pryke mould making; Taz Pollard's throwing tools.
Yesterday we had the pleasure of visiting the Marks & Tools exhibition as part of London Craft Week. We came to catch the Show & Tell & Talk hosted by Design Journalist Barbara Chandler in conversation with weaver Margo Selby, glass maker Michael Ruh and ceramicist Hannah Tounsend.
The talk provided a great opportunity to discuss the importance of tools to every maker, and how reliant makers are on the tools they use everyday. These tools often become irreplaceable because of their individual quirks, often morphing to fit the makers hand over many years.
The discussion also touched on the idea of the studio space being the ultimate bespoke tool to the maker, as it is space where the work grows and develops. As the speakers are from such different craft backgrounds, it opened up a great dialogue of differences and similarities in their working practice.
Above (Clockwise): Tools Margo Selby uses to create her handwoven pieces; Margo speaking on her work; Hannah Tounsend speaking on her work; Michael Ruh speaking on his work.
It was such a privilege to hear these makers talk so openly about their work and inspirations. We especially enjoyed hearing how Michael Ruh's work came to him in a dream! To read Michaels story and all the other maker interviews visit the Design-Nation microsite here.
Banner Image: Tools of Michael Ruh Studio