Real Craft Exhibition And The Ideas Behind It.

From: Crafts Council

Designer and curator Chris Eckersley explains the ideas behind his new exhibition Real Craft, which is at New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, from 4 October – 16 November.

It’s a popular myth that old skills are dying out. You only have to look around to see high levels of craft skill still practised in everyday making and manufacturing – but much goes unrecognised, thanks to the bad press machines are sometimes given as an aid to manufacture. This is a mindset which insists anything made in a ‘factory’ – as opposed to a ‘workshop’ – cannot be ‘crafted’. Even a workshop can be suspect; since Bernard Leach told potters they were artists, the craft preference has been for ‘studio’ production. Easily portrayed as inhuman (think of Chaplin’s Modern Times) and the enemy of hand-production, in truth the machine is, as everyone knows, simply a useful tool.

Eventually many of these prejudices can be traced back to William Morris. Before Morris, Henry Cole and the Design Reform movement had been critical of the goods produced by British manufacturers, crusading against what he saw as bad taste; but Cole had no problem with the use of improved manufacturing processes. Morris, however, blamed the machine for the decline in standards, and sought to return production methods to a pre-mechanised age, as described in his utopian 1890 view of a post-mechanised future, News From Nowhere. Although a devout socialist, it is obvious that Morris’s early Nimbyism was quite reactionary. The message: is ‘No factories in England’s green and pleasant land’ – which is easy to say if you’re high up on the Victorian rich list.

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Craft Fair

Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester

From: Crafts council

The GNCCF returns to Manchester with some new features.

From 9 to 12 October, over 160 designers and makers will be showing their wares at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in Manchester’s Old Granada Studios. As in previous years, One Year On will present a selection of this year’s graduates and makers taking part in the Crafts Council’s Hothouse programme will also be in attendance.

Launching in 2014 is Ornament, a selling exhibition curated by Kelda Savage focusing on critically-acclaimed makers who have work in public collections across the north. So while there’ll be plenty of opportunities to start your Christmas shopping don’t miss the chance to see work by Alice Kettle, Caroline Broadhead, Kate Malone and Junko Mori in this new exhibition.The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair is at Old Granada Studios, Manchester from 9 to 12 October.

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