It's been fairly quiet since my last post but I've managed to squeeze in a trip to London with my ex-colleague and still-friend, Rachael Colley, a trip which involved culture and a lot of work by Lin Cheung. We started off with a visit to the V&A to see the final choices for the Women's Hour Craft Prize, a prestigious new award which has been awarded for the first time this year, described on the website as:

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize aims to find and celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft practitioner or designer-maker resident in the UK today, in the most comprehensive prize of its kind.

 And very excellent the choices for the final proved to be. Less excellent was the back-of-beyond corridor end in which the V&A had chosen to present it:

Woman's Hour Craft Prize - 1

To find this, we not only had to ask a member of staff - it was not listed on any of their "what's on" guides - but then had to walk past education rooms, up some stairs, and round a corner, indicated only by a photocopied sign on an easel. The whole thing felt slightly contemptuous and definitely not like an exhibition of work by some of the most interesting craft practitioners in the UK.

The exhibition is really very good and jewellers and metalsmiths are featured heavily, most notably Romilly Saumarez Smith:

Woman's Hour Craft Prize - 4 - Romilly Saumarez-Smith

An exquisite bicycle by Caren Hartley and Lin Cheung's most recent work around the concept of "badges" (or "buttons" to those in the US).

Woman's Hour Craft Prize - 2 - Lin Cheung

Woman's Hour Craft Prize - 3 - Lin Cheung

These badges are made in carved gemstones, which Lin carves herself.

The overall winner was Phoebe Cummings, a ceramics artist who creates marvellously baroque unfired clay sculptures which then auto-destruct:

Woman's Hour Craft Prize - 5 - Phoebe Cummings

In this case, the object is a fountain which runs for a few minutes every day, washing away the carefully-sculpted flowers.

It is such a great shame that this exhibition would never be seen by anyone who did not go out of their way to find it.

After this, we headed through Hyde Park - dropping into the Serpentine Gallery to see the vacuous tosh of Wade Guyton, a big, boring mistake - and enjoying the "wild" parakeets:

Hyde Park Parakeet - 1

Very odd on a bitterly-cold and wet February morning!

We had lunch in a fondue/raclette restaurant - yes, such a thing exists in central London...

We then went to see Lin Cheung's solo show at Gallery SO. If you have a look at the website, you can better see the backs of the badges shown above and see what makes these "badges" rather than "brooches".

Lin Cheung - 1

This was only my second visit to Gallery SO (I'm ashamed to say) and the welcome we received from Valentina and Chris - whom I had met during last summer's ACJ Conference - was fantastic. We had the chance to see not only Lin's work:

Lin Cheung - 2

But also work by Hans Stofer, Andi Gut, Otto Kunzli, Bernhard Schobinger and Lisa Walker, amongst others. Well worth a visit when in London.

On the back of my previous post about the House of Beauty and Culture, I decided that I had to visit the last-remaining element of their collective, The Old Curiosity Shop:

Old Curiosity Shop IMG_0970
Image courtesy of OZinOH on Flickr.

In this shop, the lovely, welcoming Daita Kimura, who now uses John Moore's lasts to make the shoes, showed us around and told us a little bit about the shoes, which are beautifully-made around all their rough-edges:

The Old Curiosity Shop - 2

The Old Curiosity Shop - 1

I have, of course, commissioned a pair of hog-toe boots and this is John Moore-created last around which they will be made. It's a great pity that I can't get down to London to document the making process.

Cursley & Bond - 5

Just back from a weekend in Brighton and Folkestone, where I collected my work from the erstwhile gallery, Cursley & Bond, now, alas! closed. It was lovely to see Chris and Nicola again but sad to bring a nearly six-year partnership to an end. They are off to the US now to possibly set up a gallery there and to allow Nicola to develop her own practice.

The gallery will be sadly missed on The Old High Street in Folkestone, where it trailblazed the regeneration of the area.

I'll end this post with a few highlights of my times there.

Meet The Maker - Cursley & Bond - 6
in time of daffodils - 23
Cursley & Bond - 1
Cursley & Bond - 3
20000 Leagues Under The Seas - Talk at Cursley & Bond Gallery - 3
Folkestone Triennial Visit - 2017 - 1

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