The Craft and Design Experience (www.craftexperience.co.uk) located in Henley-on-Thames is definitely not one to be missed! The event was alive with original, inspiring contemporary crafts & techniques set in the beautiful scenery of Henley Meadows, neighboring the grandeur of Fawley Court – just a short walk from the River Thames.
Although the sky looked grey, this certainly did not dampen our spirits. With so much to see and a choice of over 170 of the very best British contemporary craft makers, it was a struggle to know where to begin gathering inspiration for our orchid ceramics and packaging! We kick-started the day by exploring the ‘Inspired’ exhibition. A fascinating collaborative demonstration of the UK’s very best furniture makers and silversmiths.
Detailed, geometric shapes were a trend throughout the show, no more so apparent in the furniture design. Contoured, twisted shapes, using light & shadow to create interesting tones & contrast onto the surface of the natural wood grain could be seen throughout the display – this was a real celebration of the material itself, highlighting the natural pattern, texture and versatility it has to offer. Traditional carpentry techniques, combined with contemporary design highlighted the interesting forms and sculptural shapes used to create the furniture.
The silverwork shone like jewels amongst the organic natural wood furniture. Using detailed, fine engraving techniques on this precious metal to create interesting and intricate pieces. Highly polished and delicate forms of twisted and contoured metal, providing the illusion of different tones simply by using shape and composition. The ‘two-tone’ theme was also evident throughout, with copper, gold and silver tones, adding contrast to individual mixed metal pieces.
In complete comparison the theme of reclaimed metallic materials used to make new up-cycled products surrounded the show. Giving a rustic, handmade and quirky feel, these products certainly bought a smile to your face and would look fabulous with orchids.
Ceramics that could be used with orchids were also highly popular throughout the show. Again using techniques and form seen using various other materials such as geometric and novelty shapes. Colour and pattern made an impact here, with marbling and hand-drawn decoration dominant. Techniques such as etching and wax resistance, as well as using contrasting texture and pattern were recurring themes in the ceramics stands. Novelty ideas of using everyday items, animal and human form to create sculptural planters contributed to the quirky nature of the show. So many different
Other materials such as felt and glass were visible styles, with glassware definitely making an impression. Splashes of sporadic colour with marbled swirls of texture, pattern and contouring gave impact and variety compared to the more contemporary and simple forms of the wood and silver pieces. The felt pieces ranged from accessories to cloths, from novelty through to a high-end refined style & finish. Small workshops were also available where you could get a hands-on experience with felt – coming to understand the material and the production process.
Talking to the artists, craftsmen and women was a real pleasure and delight to obtain insight into their creative process and skills necessary to create such unique hand-crafted products and individual pieces – with such a diverse range of individually designed and handmade products here in the UK.
Take a look at our photos by Louis at Love Orchids of our fantastic day spent here.