I spent the weekend doing my first selling fair with the Worcestershire Guild of Designer Craftsman at the Malvern Autumn Show. I joined the Guild back in January but this was the first opportunity I had to get involved with what it’s really about. The Guild is designed to bring individual craftsmanship to public attention, through fairs and shows, and encourage us craftspeople to make a living doing what we love.
It’s a noble aim and, looking around at the variety and quality of work on show this weekend, I think that they might just be achieving it.
One of the things I find when I do events is that people are always surprised by the sheer quantity of talented craftspeople around … and so was I when I stumbled across the Guild. I had no idea that so many of them were hidden away, scattered around Worcestershire, where I’ve lived for most of life. It’s clear that I don’t get out of the Jewellery Quarter and explore enough!
Among the jewellers on show were Sian Elizabeth Hughes and Melanie Hamlet (who runs the inspirational contemporary jewellery business, Kokkino) both of whom will be exhibiting at Goldsmiths Fair next week.
Left: Sian Elizabeth Hughes - Right: Kokkino
But I was really taken in looking at the Crafts that I have very little experiene of. There’s a staggering wealth of these in the Guild:
Marie-Therese King is a batik artist who creates original artwork in a medium that I only ever managed to get burned with, when I attempted it way back in school. Her inspiration ranges all through the natural world and her images are dealt with using a bright, bold palette that’s confident, assured and quite beautiful. She puts stunning levels of detail into her work, this was on of my favourites:
Marie-Therese King, Seagulls
though I loved this series too:
Marie-Therese King, Aquilegia and Honesty
And, just across the hall from Marie-Therese, hung the work of Rowan McOnegal. A stained glass artist Rowan’s glass panels made me want to build a cruck framed house, Grand Designs style, so that I had a home to do justice to her work. Based around botany and with a real rural feel Rowan combines colours and somehow works a sensitive, textured feel into the flat surface of her glass:
Rowan McOnegal, Pink and amber Sunflower
She says that she feels that “this medium perfectly combines her love of image making using drawing, painting, colour and changing light” and that’s shown off perfectly here:
Rowan McOnegal, Willowherb Portrait
Needless to say I’m now looking forward to the next Guild show, Innov8:
to be held on the 26th – 28th of November at Number 8 in Pershore where another selection of Guild members, hopefully including me, will be on show.