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Jan17

Made by Hand 2012

A truly impressive collection of the best of British craftspeople – to name but a few, here is a selection of my favourites…  

Anya Keeley’s beautifully sculpted characterful animals can’t help but bring a smile to your lips – whether it is through Arthur the Frog disdainful glower or the charming collection of delicate hanging decorations. When I grow up and have a house of my very own, I can just imagine one of her delightful creatures greeting me from a wall or bookcase every morning…

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Stephanie Ray’s beautiful textured wall sculptures caught my eye from a distance, but are amazing up close. Amongst the lovely wood grains, different angles of the blocks and the odd paper cut of text, tiny figures emerge, sitting or standing on an outcrop of the relatively enormous cliff-face.

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This display by Sharon Griffin worked really effectively as a whole, but also allowed each sculptural element to be appreciated independently. I was particularly drawn to this bird cage, which really seems to capture the etherial, fluttering and sometimes startling quality that flocks of birds have. The wire cages hanging in the tree almost became 3d line drawings – changing their perspective and composition as you passed by, casting beautiful shadows in the process.

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Niki Burns spider-like sculpture looks ready to scuttle off its plinth in a flurry of mechanical whirring and clicking… I love the combination of the warm woodgrain juxtaposed with the sleek almost surgical metal legs.

This pared back display allowed the simple elegance of the Marcovitch Boxes to speak for themselves, conveying their quiet beauty without them getting lost amongst the display setup. I think my collection of sewing things would look very well in one of these…

I was drawn to the process behind Louise Scott’s wildlife prints. I find these etching plates and composition sketches to be artworks in their own right.

As a drawer myself, I am always interested in the role it plays within the work of other artists and craftspeople. Here, the conversation from drawing to sculpture and back again is lovely – I’m glad Gillian Lee Smith displayed both elements of her work, as they compliment and contrast each other simultaneously.

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I really loved the ingenious display of the Maneggi accessories. So simple but so effective – en masse the black/white/grey shapes are so striking. (I now want a giant safety pin).

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I love the contrast between the flowing natural wood form with its scorched exterior and the precisely measured cross cuts that reveal the natural wood at its core. The way the artist Joshua Devenish then melds these 2 elements together through the elegant staggered twist of each section is really beautiful.

Made By Hand was a really inspiring event – I can’t wait to go back next year!

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