The Hand and the Glove... ramblings about making.

more hand and glove........

I was at the opening of ‘Lab Craft’ in the Truman Brewery at Tent London last night. Curated by Max Fraser, it’s a Crafts Council touring exhibition exploring ‘Digital Adventures in Contemporary Craft’.
The exhibition followed on very nicely for the museum and gallery curators attending a Crafts Council Craft Curators Forum that I was speaking at in the morning. It had been organised to demystify the use of digital media in contemporary craft and help the curators position this type of work in their collections. The discussion was lively and partly centred on the relationship between the hand and the machine. For instance, where is the dividing line between a pole lathe and a 5-axis CNC milling machine? Both are tools controlled by a combination of hand and eye and though the latter is definitely a ‘hands-off’ tool, the thought processes required to produce a piece of work are essentially the same.
As I mentioned last week, the London Design Festival is on at the moment, but for me the highlight was the Anti-Design Festival, centred on Redchurch Street, in East London. The brainchild of graphic designer Neville Brody, it encourages risk-taking, experimentation and dismisses the notion that every creative act has to have a polished, commercial end product. For the visitor, used to the beautifully presented gewgaw, it may have been a bit of a shock, for me it was a breath of fresh air.

Officially part of the London Design Festival, but more like an offshoot of the Anti-Design Festival was a week of ‘Design Against the Clock’ events held at The Duke Street, St. James’s gallery of Established and Sons. I was involved on Wednesday when I was teaching the artist Gavin Turk to throw pots. The day went really well, Gavin was focused and determined and by the end of the day he had produced a couple of dozen simple bowl forms. The outcome was the experience and will definitely not be polished and highly finished range of commercial products.
Some visitors and staff members had their first experience of throwing pots and were all completely captivated. I have long maintained that creative expression is instinctive and part of the human make-up. For the lucky few who find an appropriate vehicle, great things can be achieved; for a large number it can be channelled through hobbies, including gardening and appreciation of the natural world, and perhaps for an unlucky minority who have never had those opportunities, a life of frustration.