Good craft shows in the UK are fine affairs, places to meet and greet creative individuals and to admire the best that the UK’s hand making community can produce. Today I have visited just such an event: Craft at Top Drawer 2015.
I have known Aline Johnson’s work for some years and her handmade glass chandeliers, constructed as they are from individual swan feathers, delight and enthral in equal measure. Here are glass statement pieces: elegant, structural, organic and despite their obvious weight, ethereal. The overlapping white frosted ‘feathers’ in a huge chandelier on her stand cast a soft, diffused light. This is work that is both beautiful and romantic.
Lighting is also a theme that runs through some of the work of Vezzini and Chen and Alison Graham.
Vezzini and Chen make unique glassware, beautiful hand blown functional drinking vessels made from the purest, transparent glass with patterned and frosted glass detailing. Their stand was a delightful discovery. I was drawn particularly to three lightshades hanging in the corner, each containing a porcelain centre surrounded by a clear glass sphere. This is artisan glass at its best! The combination of materials works perfectly, the clear glass sets off the milky purity of the white porcelain it encases.
And porcelain brings us to my next maker, Alison Graham. Alison uses a painterly style to express herself on her contemporary ceramics in shades of teal, sage green and russet. Mark-making is paramount. With energetic strokes of pigment her unique ceramics conjure images of landscapes and seascapes, deserts and rock formations. This is work that engages the imagination of the viewer and where every angle of a piece tells a different story. The same technique is employed on her stunning light shades – unique home accessories – strikingly accessorised with vintage light fittings and bright orange, twisted flexes.
To walk around an event like Craft is to see the extraordinary variety that can be achieved in every medium by so many exciting and creative imaginations.
Here’s to Craft at Top Drawer in September. I can’t wait!
Dan Goode - Chief Seeker @ Home of Artisans.
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