The Craft Council celebrates 40 years of the Crafts Council Collection with a major online exhibition 40:40 – forty objects for forty years that launches today. It’s an innovative concept, with forty objects from the Collection, selected by makers, writers and curators, presented with a personal response from their selector alongside a range of archive material including exhibition catalogue texts, films, audio clips, sketches, press articles, loan correspondence and installation instructions. Essentially, by installing the exhibition online, the viewer is encourages to do all those things you promote yourself you’re going to do after you’ve seen a gallery exhibition – read a bit more about the artist, their work, what people are saying about them, and critical responses to the work.
There are pieces by some of the most important makers of contemporary craft from the last 40 years, including Fred Baier’s Star Wars Chair (1978), a small yellow bowl by legendary potter Lucie Rie (1983), pioneering jewellery by David Watkins (1983), Caroline Broadhead’s Wobbly Dress (1990), Grayson Perry’s anarchic Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall Pot (1996), Toord Boontje’s Wednesday Light (2001) and Arcady (2007) by Edmund de Waal.
Our favourites are listed below, but given that it’s only a click away, we recommend you take a look for yourself.
Laura Potter Cliché (1997):
Cliché is a bottle of tiny silver sheep to be taken out and counted at bedtime. Exquisite.
El Ultimo Grito (Rosario Hurtado & Roberto Feo) Miss Ramirez Chair (2006):
The Miss Ramirez Chair is named after the Spanish-speaking bar owner in the 1952 Western High Noon. Husband and wife partnership, El Ultimo Grito’s work questions our relationships with objects and culture, exploring them across disciplines in projects ranging from interiors to graphics. Playful and humorous.
Grayson Perry Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall Pot (1996):
Grayson Perry was never motivated by a desire to work in clay as such, but chose pottery because studio ceramics was in thrall to a formal idea. Perry challenges the idea, implicit in the craft tradition, that pottery is merely decorative or utilitarian and cannot express ideas. Deeply psychological.
Maria Militsi Ballet To Remember (2009):
Ballet to Remember is a collection of 11 pieces choreographed by Felicity and Edna Dean’s book published in 1944 demonstrating a variety of ballet poses. Militsi’s series reassesses the object’s function by filling their empty space with precious metals.
Michael Eden Wedgwoodn’t Tureen (2010):
Playfully entitled Wedgwoodn’t Tureen, this reinterpretation of a classic Josiah Wedgwood pottery is a strong example of the successful fusion of traditional craft skills with digital technology in the Crafts Council Collection. Designed using a rapid manufacturing machine, which prints in three dimensions from a digital file, the sheer beauty of this piece belies its wit and historical resonance. Truly striking.
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1. Laura Potter Cliché (1997). Image courtesy of Nick Moss.
2. El Ultimo Grito (Rosario Hurtado & Roberto Feo) Miss Ramirez Chair (2006). Image courtesy of Heini Schneebeli
3. Grayson Perry Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall Pot (1996. Image courtesy of Nick Moss.
4. Maria Militsi Ballet To Remember (2009). Image courtesy of Nick Moss.
5. Michael Eden Wedgwoodn’t Tureen (2010.Image courtesy of Nick Moss.