A new country showcase of contemporary Scottish craft took centre-stage at London Design Fair 2016. The Scotland: Craft & Design pavilion of handmade design-led pieces is a partnership between Craft Scotland and Emergents. 22 emerging and established designer/makers from across Scotland exhibited at this industry event, part of the renowned London Design Festival.
Located in the creative heart of East London, London Design Fair is a four-day event that brings together 450 exhibitors from 29 countries; including independent designers, established brands, international country showcases and galleries. Every year, London Design Fair attracts over 25,000 influential retailer buyers, architects, interior designers, press, designers and a design-savvy public.
Find out more about the 22 talented makers who exhibited at the Scotland: Craft & Design pavilion below.
Located on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Annette Sopata's design label 'Diggory Brown' specialises in applying traditional, hand tailoring techniques to create unique and contemporary kilts, garments and accessories for womenswear and menswear.
Annette specialises in creating bespoke pieces of work for individuals using locally woven Harris Tweed, Breanish Tweed and Scalpay Linen. She also creates catwalk and production kilts for Christopher Kane and other clients within the fashion and textile industry. Over the past eight years her design-led business has been developed on the belief that to have a garment handmade in a rural location where the cloth is hand-woven is a unique and luxurious option for clients. Annette has sought to develop additional design and production practices inspired by the circular economy and closed loop recycling of production. This has resulted in developing her own Hebridean Harris Tweed using wool from sheep reared on her own family croft.
Catherine MacGruer is a knitted textiles designer based in the Highlands of Scotland. Inspired by her travels and pattern formation, Catherine creates contemporary, bold, knitted Merino wool products for body and home. Balancing craft and new technologies play a crucial role in the construct of the contemporary textiles.
Each design is initially evolved by collaging fragmented shapes, experimenting with colour and composition. The designs are then transposed into knitted textiles using advanced digital knit techniques. The eye-catching products are knitted in the UK using 100% superfine Merino wool giving them a luxurious feel, made to last and be treasured. Catherine studied Textile Design at The Glasgow School of Art where her fascination with knit and combining bold patterns with high-quality yarns began.
Choi Keeryong's artistic practice has been heavily influenced and inspired by his personal cross-cultural experience of being in a state of in-betweenness in a foreign country. He has lived in Edinburgh for about ten years, but was born, brought up and lived in South Korea for thirty years. Inspired by the existential anguish that emerged through his experience, Choi explores the notion of unhomeliness (there is a word for this in the German language, unheimlich, which can be translated as uncanny).
Developing an inlaid colouring hot-glass making technique inspired by the ancient Korean “Saggam” pottery has allowed Choi to explore the state of ambiguity in a viewer’s visual experience. He translates geometric patterns and counterfeit letters onto his glass artworks, and encapsulates them in between the layers of transparent glass. The use of the historical symbolism of tea and the popularity of the English-manufactured porcelain tea service is a metaphor for the cultural stereotype that has existed throughout history in both the West and the East.
David Watson is a designer and maker of fine furniture.
From his workshop in Inverclyde, David and his team of skilled craftsmen manufacture high-quality furniture and furnishings.
David’s creative drive and attention to detail have ensured continuous client satisfaction along with industry recognition for excellence in design and craftsmanship, receiving the Visual Arts Scotland Award for Applied Arts 2016.
David draws inspiration from the Inverclyde area and its rich history of pioneering industrial manufacturing, combined with the way timber has been implemented throughout the years in precision engineering.
Eileen Gatt's silverware has a strong narrative element, inspired by the polar wilderness, Inuit culture, Scottish folklore, and the small fishing communities found along Scotland’s East Coast. She has been involved with a number of collaborations with storytellers from as far afield as Alaska. Eileen has been designing and handcrafting silverware and jewellery for over 20 years.
Hilary Grant is a knitwear designer, based on Orkney. Hilary's studio is on the ground floor of a 300-year-old Merchants house on the Bay of Houton. There she designs all of her collections, sampling patterns, colours and finishing techniques on a domestic knitting machine. She works with a long established, world class luxury knitwear manufacturer in the Scottish Borders to produce the majority of her knitwear.
Every piece is hand-finished to an impeccable standard by their highly skilled team, who have decades of experience and a reputation for the superior quality synonymous with Scottish knitwear.
Hilary is interested in knitting traditions from Scotland, Iceland and Scandinavia but strives to develop the language of this kind of pattern making, instead of re-appropriating existing motifs. Her work, as a result, has the feeling and nuance of traditional knitwear and it's pattern, but hers is entirely original and contemporary.
Image credit: Ross Fraser McLean / StudioRoRo
Jennifer's work generally develops through a predominantly site-responsive process, or as a reaction to a particular story, personality or object. The work she will be showcasing is created using a mixture of techniques which move in and out of the handmade and the digital. She uses digital modelling packages to emulate traditional jewellery/silversmithing carving and lost wax casting methods, in order to retain a ‘handmade’ quality. Jennifer aspires to produce work that can leave you uncertain as to how it was made; demonstrating that technological approaches can blend naturally into a piece of work as a means of enhancing tradition.
She has been practicing as a designer/maker for ten years, since graduating from the Glasgow School of Art with a first class degree. In 2010 she undertook a Masters course at the Royal College of Art and has since exhibited nationally and internationally, with her work part of several permanent museum collections. Currently, she works part-time as a lecturer in the Design School of Edinburgh College of Art.
Joanna runs Edinburgh Mosaic Studio and specialises in the design and fabrication of mosaic artworks for domestic and public spaces. Her work ranges from colourful, interior wall surface treatments to large scale, exterior, architectural mosaics. She employs a range of mosaic materials from industrially produced porcelain and glass, through locally sourced stone to marble, Venetian glass smalt, gold leaf mosaic to cast and polished concrete.
Her studio practice consists of more intimately scaled jewel-like mosaic artworks and photographs. Joanna works intuitively, exploring juxtapositions and visual qualities of light, materials and colour, often inspired by natural and manmade environments. She is interested in the nature of hand-crafted work and the particular timescale that this implies - a calm and rhythmic process at a human pace. Her work has been exhibited in the prestigious International Mosaic Biennales, in Ravenna in 2013/2015 and Chartres in 2014 and in Spilimbergo in 2016.
Jode Pankhurst is a designer/maker with a background in illustration. She makes bold, graphic and playful pieces of homeware and is also developing a collection of wearable ceramics. She predominantly works in porcelain and enjoys adorning her wares with a free-hand pattern to retain a sense of immediacy. Exciting creative responses occur when subject boundaries are disregarded and we feel brave enough to work with materials or within areas that are unfamiliar to us. Acknowledging the limits of knowledge, and embracing naivety rather than fearing it enables us to propose new and exciting definitions to a creative specialism. This methodology is at the core of her practice in clay and allows for a confident and unapologetic three-dimensional expression of her illustrative style.
The primary theme within Juli Bolaños-Durman’s creative process is the exploration of preciousness and how intuitive play jumpstarts new ideas within the studio practice. She finds herself favouring and treasuring objects that act as storytellers and constitute experiences that are links to emotional connections. Therefore, it is essential for the creative process to give the artwork the same significance, disregarding where it came from or how it was constructed.
Juli creates raw pieces that are put together sensibly through the joyfulness of play and explores the different materials and ideas to provoke the boundaries of what art is and its meaning. By aiming to transform ordinary objects into valuable, timeless pieces or objects d’art, the process flows effortlessly to materialise into sculptural art with soul. Juli has been using blown and found glass as her main vehicle and transforming it into precious pieces through cutting. But she is also interested in repurposing found materials and challenging herself to transform them into unexpected objects that tell a story.
Subtle colours, organic textures and inspiration from nature are reflected in Julia Smith’s range of earthenware ceramics. The clean forms of mid-century tableware, children's book illustrations and the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic are recurring inspirations which are evident in her pots. She works from her studio which looks out over the Moray Firth. In her glazes, she aims to capture moments within the ever-changing light on the water and the dramatic weather which passes through. Travels to other coastal locations, such as Iceland, have sparked explorations into open forms made with textural lava-like clay and contrasting glazes.
Kate Colin works with paper to create handmade sculptural lighting. Growing up with a mathematician father who filled the house with complex polyhedra models, she developed an inherent appreciation of the beauty and variety of three-dimensional forms from an early age. Inspired by this she developed her own technique of hand scoring and folding sheet of paper to create a range of unique designs. She is interested in variations of light, colour and geometric form and through her work she explores how they interact with one another.
Fascinated by how the slightest variation of angle or fold can alter the final structural form, her work is an experimental process and constantly evolving. Every piece is unique and when illuminated, their appearance is radically transformed: folds, creases and angles become emphasised while an intensity of colour is brilliantly revealed.
As a strict craftsman, Kevin Gauld uses only the best quality materials for his furniture, even going so far as to grow his own oats for the straw backs of his renowned Orkney Chairs. In 2015, Kevin collaborated with furniture designer-maker Gareth Neal for The New Craftsmen showcasing the traditional straw work technique to stunning effect.
Kirsteen Stewart brings creativity and colour into our everyday lives. Her playful collections of womenswear and accessories are led by vibrant print designs, combining bold graphics with a vivid spectrum of colour. Kirsteen’s pieces are designed for life; simple shapes in high quality and practical fabrics provide the perfect canvas for the prints, introducing a bright pop of personality or a riot of colour into your outfit with ease.
Kirsteen’s work draws on her local landscape and experience of island living; from the dramatic open skies, ragged coastlines and the ceaseless motion of the seascapes, to the graphic lines of maps and the movement of lights seen with frequent travel to the mainland. Designing her prints by hand and digitally, Kirsteen develops her inspirations with signature flair; playing with scale, texture and motion she interprets her references with joy and confidence.
The contrasts of the malleable, soft clay and the hard, durable and permanent fired ceramic form are what inspire Lara Scobie. This is where she looks for the balance which is at the heart of what she does. Each element of balance is a new discovery, found somewhere between knowing how far the material can be pushed and when to let the material's own dogged nature dictate the final journey. Technical expertise and experience are always challenged by each different set of influences, from pragmatic considerations to artistic instinct, and it is this space between that she is most interested in; it is where technique, material and creative insight meet.
The theme of balance is a constant, significantly underlining her current work in which ideas of a dynamic interplay between form and surface develops. By integrating drawing, surface mark making and volume; she plays with the balance of space and pattern alongside hue and texture on both the decorated and void surface areas.
Lizzie’s work is an internal journey. She responds to the events in her life by working with her hands. The abstract forms she creates are attempts to express the complex in as simple a way as possible, and to find order and a sense of calm in chaos.
Using natural materials like the ash or willow can have a quiet and still effect on the mind, each piece created clearing the way to produce more work. Lizzie’s work is moving away from densely-woven pieces towards a much lighter, aerial direction, using willow as a medium for drawing in air.
Melanie Muir is based in Nairn, Scotland, and creates jewellery entirely by hand, using a process of her own invention (inspired by the Japanese metalworking technique, “mokume gane”), involving veneers of polymer and several stages of ‘firing’.
Melanie was introduced to polymer in 2006 and was instantly taken with its qualities as a medium. It is essentially a simple material to use, yet the range of techniques possible with it are extraordinary.
“I am constantly inspired by the colours, shapes and patterns that surround me in the Highland landscape. My jewellery is deceptively simple in form, but the creation and application of pattern is critical. My simple wish is to make bold, original, colourful jewellery which is so different and beautiful that it speaks to someone else and inspires them to purchase and wear my work. Every piece I make is completely unique and I hope my clients experience pleasure each time they wear my jewellery.”
Morag Macpherson’s practice is predominantly informed with surface pattern creation. She is involved in the research behind each collection - the concept of each pattern's story is integral to the finished piece. Her influences come from art history, different cultures and natural and urban shapes and lines.
Her background in commercial art is apparent in the rendering of her work. Her patterns are digitally printed - this process is outsourced and allows her complete freedom of colour expression and no limitations, which is very liberating. It is also less wasteful than other industrial printing techniques. The making and patch working process is the final part of her creative journey and she enjoys the patience it teaches her. Her true passion is her art wear patch worked clothing and interior pieces, which are all unique patch worked creations. She also produces limited edition fabric, wallpaper, cushions and scarves.
Naomi is a designer and maker with an architectural background. She is interested in how objects relate to the body. She manipulates surfaces to create sculptural objects. She thinks of the pieces as works that are ‘Wearable Drawings’ and uses planes and lines to suggest forms and capture volumes, transforming 2D surfaces into 3D objects. With precise geometry the pieces investigate how volumes, patterns, planes and forms are seen.
The Store Hus is a growing family business with a love of print, pattern, and the home. Time spent in Scandinavia developed an appreciation for a pared-down approach to design, strong use of colour and careful consideration for materials and production methods.
Designs created by The Store Hus are bright and bold using strong pattern and colour combinations to create printed practical and decorative items for the home. Small-scale traditional production methods are used and sourcing materials from within the UK, where possible, helps to maintain a positive working relationship with the local economy and be mindful of the impact they have on the environment. Being very hands-on throughout the whole design process is very important to The Store Hus. To ensure the functionality, aesthetic appeal, and environmental impact is up to scratch they test all the products in their own homes. Only when they are totally satisfied with the look, feel and purpose are they happy to offer them to their customers.
Tom’s fascination for timber and woodworking has informed his work all of his life. He took up ceramics much later but was enthralled by the way the two disciplines could work together. He developed a unique process that he uses to preserve and almost fossilise the wooden forms he makes and has honed these processes to a fine degree.
Yellow Broom is a partnership of two Edinburgh College of Art Sculpture graduates, David Robson and Clare Waddle. After years working in the visual art sector, both makers independently concluded that they were keen to explore their common interests in the craft and design market; in particular the creation of design-led homewares.
The Scotland: Craft & Design pavilion was part of the London Design Fair, running from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25 September 2016. The London Design Fair encompasses Tent London and Super Brands London and runs during the London Design Festival.
To find out about The Scotland: Craft & Design pavilion at London Design Fair in 2017, please visit our dedicated page.