Craft Industrialism; Stories behind Products

Craft Industrialism is a new initiative that aims to bridge the gap between the craft maker and the public allowing us to understand and appreciate the process of craft practice. The event showcases a carefully curated exhibition presenting a selection of makers work, each project has a detailed narrative which illustrates the complexity and precision of the ideas from initial concepts, design and development, and finally to the chosen production method. This project also aims to demonstrate the importance of promoting and supporting our local creative businesses.

preview night

I went along to the preview evening of the event, there was a real buzz in the atmosphere, everyone seemed excited to learn and understand more about the meticulous presentation of each project. For me, it was interesting to visually see the full thought process of the maker, from project notes, to concept ideas and sketches. It was fascinating to see the tools that are used by the makers, this allows us to comprehend the intricate hand craft techniques and the amount of time and work that goes into the creation of the project.

craft

Since the contemporary craft movement we romanticise more of the handmade because we desire quality, not quantity. With the ‘handmade ethos’ becoming a key driver of consumer aspirations it becomes even more important for us to show a deeper understanding and appreciation of the design elements involved. From the sourcing of materials to the craft techniques through to the maker process, we have moved into a world where we value craft once again,  where we want individuality and unique quality, and are happy paying more money for one-off products. In today’s society we want to own less items and look towards owning products we feel mean something or have a story to tell.

Here is a look at some of my favourite designer-makers that are showcasing their work at this event, each maker will present their work over the next few days and discuss the theory or concept behind their designs. Tickets for these talks are available to buy and the exhibition is open to the public until Wednesday 25th March.

Ruth Pullan Textiles and Leather Work

Ruth’s studio is centered around exploring ways of manipulating leather into different forms and shapes. She utilises classic moulding techniques and shaping more often seen on a cutting table than in the workshop in order to bring together a new collection of work that challenges leather-working techniques with a modern twist.

Ruth Pullan

Laura Daza

Colour Factory is a visual and tactile investigation into the colour and dye world, using natural materials to question the relationship between nature and humans. The design is driven by the traditions of colour; celebrating ancient rituals or alchemic techniques and exploring ways for extracting natural pigments. Colours in nature are infinite, only a few thousand have been described and many others to be discovered.

Laura Daza

Convivial Project

Generative Scarves is a project that enables you to generate your own pattern for a scarf. For this project a procedural algorithm commonly used to digitally generate patterns of the natural world was sampled in a bespoke application. The Generative Scarves app, with its set of modifiable parameters enables the user to customise colours and patterns and create a unique print for a personalised scarf.

Convivial Project

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Craft Industrialism really makes you question what we buy and drives a desire to understand more about the story behind a certain product. This could be the story of the trend it aspires to create or the story of it’s history.  For retailers and manufacturers this concept is a great way to market product, allow conscientious consumers to understand the process, design and development that leads to the end creation. There is a growing interest in ‘real’ products and knowing everything about where it initiated so don’t just sell the product; tell it’s story to your consumers.

For more information on how you can achieve this contact us today.

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A proposition for Designers, Manufacturers & Consumers …

Let’s take it right back to what’s essential, practical and authentic.  

Let’s find contentment, pleasure and beauty in simplicity.

Let’s explore repurposing, recycling and waste materials.

Let’s appreciate craftsmanship, honesty and plainness.

Let’s value comfort, natural materials and modesty.

Let’s begin today.

leather love montage

ABOVE are my pick of beautifully made products that address our proposition at the top of this posting:

1. Worn armchair featuring untreated leather pads & goose feather back cushions by Samuel Wilkinson for Italian brand Casamania  2. FELT armchair in American Walnut veneer & gray felt upholstery by Merve Kahraman  3. Indoor Green dining table/study desk by MANOTECA made from vintage Italian exterior doors (the hinges & latch are still in place) with hand sewn pockets of recycled leather  4. Structured leather trim dress & cape by Colcci (Fall 2015 collection)  5. iPad mini sleeve handmade in vegetable tanned leather & Merino wool-felt (including a back-to-basics pencil & notepad) by Paris-based Etsy seller OSTFØLD  6. Zeus cushion (laser burnt cowhide – sourced as a natural byproduct, suedette & canvas) made by leather artisans at Art Hide

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Knit and Stitch Show 2014 Harrogate

The Knitting and Stitching Show is the largest and most highly regarded textiles and craft event in the UK, it’s packed with textile craft goodies to buy, workshops and galleries. I went along to check out some of the exhibitors this year and to see what was new in the world of embroidery…

Caren Garfen

‘She Was Cooking Something Up’.

Caren’s work consists of a full-size kitchen installation which brings together all of her research over the past three to four years on women, dieting and body image. Enter the kitchen at your peril!

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TOFT Luxury British Knitting

TOFT designs and manufactures quality alpaca and wool yarn and fashionable knitwear here in the UK from British sourced luxury fibres and is based on an alpaca farm in Toft, Warwickshire. TOFT is for the stylish ethically-minded crafter looking for a proper great British story behind their knitting and knitwear. I loved their space at the exhibition, they had fabulous product, creative workshops and many patterns to learn and get involved in!

Jo Beattie

The image below is of a machine embroidery called ‘Playground’. This work is over a metre wide and 75cm in length. It hangs away from the wall, and so you see enlarged images of the children on the plain wall behind. It will hopefully give people the idea of a type of ‘PICK & MIX’ approach where the buyer can choose up to 4 images from the ‘Playground’ to put in a frame for themselves.

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Leslie Morgan

‘How many Mountains’ is the title of this beautiful embroidered quilt – the detail of the stitch is amazing.

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Olly mason

Main inspirations include urban architecture, surface texture and Middle-Eastern and Asian cultures. Her work focuses on surfaces and the conceptual contrast between hard and soft, incorporating both textiles and concrete. These designs have been created for innovative interior surfaces.

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Hanny Newton

Her work is a combination of copper thread and glass on metal pins and industrial felt. Mining is part of the fabric of Cornwall, shaping the landscape while shaping the lives of the people. The Cornish mining story is all about people: the men, women and children who worked hard in dangerous conditions to earn a living.

The technique of layered felt padding is liberated from its conventional home underneath gold work embroidery that would be found on a coronation gown and up scaled to create sculptural rock forms. Gold and silver embroider threads are swapped for copper and tin – the lifeblood of Cornwall.

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Bridget Donoghue

Currently studying at the University of Huddersfield on the Surface Design course, Bridget specialises in embroidery and exhibited some of her work at the show. Her work is based on the visual expression of dreams, and inspired by social issues, surfaces and her drawings. The pieces she has created are based on the four stages of sleep and the movement of the brain, by using the Amaya embroider machine she creates detailed movement in stitch textures.

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Whatever happened to Zak?

Cast your mind back a couple of years and if you’ve been reading our blog since around 2012/13 you might recall a Work Placement student at Scarlet Opus called Zak who wrote a whole bunch of posts and helped to create our Autumn/Winter 2014/15 & trend boards. Continue reading

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The Best of The Best Millennial Designers 2014

Last month I visited the Huddersfield University Textile Degree Show preview night; I still find it hard to believe that I was in the same position last year and now, one year on, I’ve returned to check out the new designers as part of the Scarlet Opus team!

There is always a diverse range of Surface Design, Textile Design and Textile Craft work on display that shows a variety of material manipulation, colour and pattern design.

The atmosphere was amazing as usual, all the students had worked extremely hard to display their work and create a fantastic space for the viewers to walk round. I want to congratulate all the students on receiving their results and I hope we see a lot more of these amazing designers in the future (some are exhibiting at New Designers).

Here are some of my faves…

Chloe Fisher

Such an interesting and delicate use of materials. I love the unusual shapes created, the intensity of colour and the detailed patterns.

js1600_Chloe_FisherDaniel Matthews

Beautiful innovative illusional digitally printed fabrics inspired by the art of paper weaving and London architecture. I would also like to congratulate Daniel on his success in the SDC International Design Competition.

js1600_Daniel_MatthewsHeidi Beesley

Woven fabric designed around the photography of everyday moments. I love the sophisticated colour palette and simplicity of the presentation.

js1600_Heidi_BeesleyNichola Duce

Love the concept, it’s unique and wonderfully presented. The intricate embroidery adds detail and originality to the product.

js1600_Nichola_DuceAmy Leigh Green

The Eclectic Vibes collection reflects a relaxed, hippie, bohemian style (How very on trend). With inspiration gathered from gypsy cultures which for centuries have fashioned themselves based on floral elements, folkloric patterns and jewellery.

Fantastic use of colour and bold patterns!

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Fatima Hussain

I love the minimalistic architectural influence created within the structured weave. Simple but very effective.

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Amy Price

Amazing presentation of printed fashion fabrics with beautiful photography.

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Adriana Tavares

‘If you can draw it, you can tuft it’ is a collaborative community lead project. This project promotes the educational benefits of crafts. The project challenged the perception of rugs and revolutionised them by pushing the boundaries of shape, colour and aesthetic.

js1600_adriana_tavaresKimberley Harrington

This collection takes inspiration from the growing variations of street art throughout the colourful city of Berlin. A very bold use of bright colours, it’s exciting, energetic and the ‘organised chaos’ presentation makes it unique and inspirational.

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Melissa Oswald

Surface design at its best, the colour and material combination create inspiring designs!

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Intense use of colour, disorderly pattern and precise themes define this year’s final shows.

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