For London Craft Week 2018, Design-Nation presented a diverse showcase of members’ works with the theme of ‘Head, Hand and Heart’. Located in the charming showroom of Helen Yardley Studio near London Bridge, the selected craftspeople were chosen for their ability to inspire, delight and inform through their contemporary craft works, beautifully illustrating John Ruskin’s statement, “Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together”. This exhibition continues its journey in June 2018 to Eunique, Germany’s annual premier showcase of craft and design.
Working in partnership with leading rug designer Helen Yardley and Barbara Chandler, design champion, writer and photographer, Design-Nation developed the “Head, Hand and Heart” exhibition to explore the makers’ moments of inspiration; the intricacies of their handmade work; and most importantly posing the question, what is it about the making process which makes their hearts happy?
Barbara Chandler says, “Getting to know the designer-makers of Design-Nation has been a pleasure and a privilege. It’s happened over the years through my work as a specialist writer, also sitting on the Design-Nation selection panel and helping to curate last year’s show for London Craft Week. Each member is unique. Even within the same “discipline” – ceramics, say, or textiles – work and working methods vary dramatically.
“But what if we tried to link them by exploring three universal and very human elements of the making process: the coming together of head, hand and heart? I had this idea and then I found the concept had been first expressed in a lecture by the famous Victorian art critic and social thinker John Ruskin (1819-1900). It must have been in my sub-conscious from reading about Ruskin’s life.
“As we chose the eleven members taking part this year we asked them more about the creative elements of their work – could they distinguish between head, hand and heart? For many, these qualities are fused, equally shaping their work at any one moment. Others have a more analytical approach. In all cases, the work is ambitious, beautiful and complex. We like to think Ruskin would be pleased.”
Alongside our feature exhibition “Head, Hand and Heart” we will show work by other Design-Nation members in two other showcases: a group of eight designer-makers who will be at the fair selling their work directly, and our Inspired by Nottingham exhibition. The selling showcase includes: Stuart Akroyd, Hugh Miller, Katie Lowe, J.C. Middlebrook, Wolfram Lohr, BLOTT WORKS , Eleanor Kerr Patton and Paula Briggs . Those inspired by Nottingham include J.C. Middlebrook, Janie Knitted Textiles, Jennie McCall, Jillian Riley Designs, Julie Vernon Mosaics, Kate Bajic Jewellery, Foto Ceramica, MOMOKA53, Rare Notions by Phiona Richards, Sarah Burton and Stuart Akroyd Contemporary Glass.
The three day exhibition at Eunique runs Friday 8 to Sunday 10 June. Visitor information is here.
With sincere thanks to Barbara Chandler, who can be followed on Instagram as @sunnygran, and who helped us to create this exhibition; to Daniel Weill and London Craft Week for letting us use his photographs; and to Eunique for being our new and generous international partner.
Eunique, Messe Karlsruhe, 8-10 June, 2018
Helen Yardley Studio, London 9-12 May 2018