Scotland makers join a celebration of international craftsmanship

Photography by Shannon Tofts

Photography by Shannon Tofts

Scotland-based makers Patricia Shone, Frances Priest and Amanda Simmons take their place on the world stage at the Best in Europe showcase, part of Homo Faber in Venice. 

On now until Sunday 30 September, Home Faber is a new international celebration of craft and craftsmanship which showcases the finest art and artisan craftsmanship created by over 150 makers across Europe. 

The exhibition has been carefully selected by curator and gallerist Jean Blanchaert, who sought not only to showcase examples of European creativity and craftsmanship at the highest level but to demonstrate the diversity of Europe’s artistic heritage, as contemporary artists draw on traditional techniques and materials that are firmly rooted in their homeland. 

Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition has brought together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Former Craft Scotland Director Fiona Logue said regarding the selected makers:

“Craft Scotland works diligently to raise the profile of Scottish craft internationally as we know our highly talented makers can engage on the worldwide stage. Being part of the Michelangelo Foundation Network has ensured Scottish participation in this momentous exhibition.

The selection of work by Frances Priest, Amanda Simmons and Patricia Shone for such a prestigious showcase is a testament to their work and to the renown of Scottish craft as a whole. I very much look forward to seeing their work enjoying well deserved global attention among the Best of Europe.”

Frances Priest’s work explores cultural histories of ornament and decoration through collections of ornately drawn and coloured ceramic objects. Her latest collection of works explore and reflect upon the collections of patterns gathered by Owen Jones in The Grammar of Ornament. The piece featured in Best of Europe is covered in hand drawn and glazed patterns - reflecting on the labour intensive process involved in creating pattern in decorative art, such as mosaic, embroidery, weave and marquetry.

Frances Priest Homo Faber Photography by Shannon Tofts

Frances Priest | Photography by Shannon Tofts

Patricia Shone’s work is informed by the powerful landscape around her on the Isle of Skye. Her highly textured vessels are fired using a variety of techniques and temperatures - raku firing, wood firing and saggar firing - to create a range of effects reflecting the geology of the land. Patricia said:

“I am hugely honoured and surprised to have been selected for such an extraordinary show. To have a piece of my work alongside so many great artisans’ work from all over Europe was unthinkable until it happened.  This exhibition is all about the very best abilities of human hands and imagination.

For me it is particularly poignant to be included as we head towards Brexit, but I am optimistic that although our politics may be moving away from inclusion in Europe, our common humanity and history will always connect us across borders.”

Amanda Simmons Photography by Shannon Tofts

Amanda Simmons | Photography by Shannon Tofts

Joining Frances Priest and Patricia Shone’s work in the Best of Europe exhibition is glass artist Amanda Simmons. Amanda creates kiln formed glass objects, playing with gravity within the kiln itself. Manipulating mass, heat, colour and time she makes complex, elusive work that has intense colour and pattern which reacts to the light it is placed in. 

Best of Europe is one of 16 exhibits that make up Homo Faber: Crafting a more human future. Hundreds of exceptional works created by some 150 artist-artisans from all over Europe will be exhibited for Best of Europe, stunningly displayed in a room envisioned and designed by renowned Italian architect Stefano Boeri. Director of Creative Industries at Creative Scotland, Clive Gillman said: 

“We are incredibly proud of Scottish craft and events like this are integral to making sure the rest of the world has the opportunity to see the fantastic work being made here in Scotland. Craft Scotland does an excellent job of keeping Scottish craft at the forefront of the global conversation and supporting our makers and we are delighted we can support them to do this work.”

Homo Faber
Free admission | Open until Sunday 30 September
San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice

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