Handmade in Britain has partnered with the Royal Botanic Gardens to showcase the best in British and international craftsmanship at a new four-day event this October. The show’s creative director Piyush Suri tells us why Handmade at Kew is a unique shopping event not to be missed
Handmade at Kew is a brand new arts event. What can visitors expect?
It’s an innovative new craft event featuring the work of over 150 exhibitors. Housed in an elegant pavilion next to Kew Palace, your ticket will also provide access to the whole of Kew Gardens. Guests can enjoy the world’s most famous botanic garden with its fine glasshouses and rare blooms, while browsing, buying or commissioning work directly from artists and makers. It’s a fabulous day out for the whole family and a rare opportunity to indulge in both horticulture and shopping.
What’s the highlight of the show?
Work by the majority of the 150 UK and international exhibitors at this show would never find its way to the average high street. Most of the artists are awarding winners in their own countries and only sell through galleries, exhibitions or by appointment. Handmade at Kew is a rare opportunity to see such a varied selection of individual and beautiful work from around the world and to find and buy fine and exclusive things.
Which designer names should visitors look out for?
From ceramics: Bernard Leach, regarded as the father of British Studio pottery, died in 1979 but members of his family have continued in his tradition. At Handmade at Kew, The Leach Pottery from St Ives will show a range of traditional, hand-thrown and decorated pieces for domestic use. Norman Yap is also a studio potter, but by contrast makes highly contemporary statements in porcelain and stoneware – elegant bowls, vases and bottles, more for admiration than for use.
From glass: This is the most magical of craft mediums. You only have to look at Kew’s magnificent Palm House to appreciate its flexibility and beauty. And some of the UK’s leading glassmakers will illustrate its infinite possibilities, showing a mix of sculptural and domestic pieces. Gillies Jones, for example, uses layers of blown glass, engraved with abstract crosshatching and striations in highly contemporary forms, while Bob Crooks makes dynamic statements using textured surfaces and vivid boiled-sweet colours.
From silverware: The silversmith Rebecca Joselyn finds inspiration in the throw away metal detritus of our daily lives from coke cans to sardine tins, and with a deft touch transforms them into silver objects of luxury and beauty. For purely decorative metalwork look no further than Helaina Sharpley who uses fine wire to delineate delicate wire compositions depicting kitchen paraphernalia with a vintage feel.
How does the iconic Kew location complement the art work on display?
Gardening and craft have always had a special relationship – both are artistic pursuits, requiring patience, skill and artistry and both result in pleasing compositions. All these qualities will be much in evidence at Handmade at Kew.
What prices can visitors expect to pay for the crafts on sale?
Crafts will range from £20 to over £12,000.
Is there one area of crafts that is particularly worth investing in?
The crafts are experiencing an unprecedented rise in popularity and this selling exhibition clearly illustrates why. All areas of craft are great for investment, especially jewellery, silverware and glassware (due to the recent resurgence and especially as we have Bob Crooks exhibiting at the show).
Handmade at Kew will take place from 8 – 11 October 2015 at Kew Gardens. For ticket details, visit handmadeinbritain.co.uk.