For five hours today I have been inspired and entranced by exquisite handmade items at Origin in Spitalfields. Not only that but I have had the added enjoyment of speaking to the artisans themselves, learning about their techniques, enthusiasms and aspirations; an experience one cannot have when viewing items in a gallery. These inspiring artisans proved that the rewards of a creative existence are abundant and they proudly and confidently flew the flag for the handmade item.
It seems almost churlish to pick out individual artists, but there were a couple who caught my eye very early on,
Sarah Thirlwell's beautiful vessels, reminiscent of curling stones.
setting the tone for my afternoon. The first was Sarah Thirlwell, whose work I spied from the main entrance. Vessels made from reclaimed and recycled materials – alternate hard-wood and varicoloured (bright and muted) bands of acrylic – some very similar in shape to curling stones, others more traditional, the shapes meticulously formed on a lathe. The contrast of shiny and matt is particularly effective. Beautiful shapes, beautiful colours, entirely unique and sustainable. Work that surely deserves a wider audience.
One of Chris Keenan's exquisite celadon teapots
Chris Keenan’s creations are different but just as exquisite: hand-thrown Limoges porcelain pieces which are both beautiful and functional. Chris’s work is fine: finely made and finely coloured. Glazes, reminiscent of the blue of a blackbird’s egg,create a luminous and nuanced surface with the pure white of the porcelain visible beneath. Then there is a glaze of the deepest brown,rich like a jar of treacle. Occasionally the two glazes are combined, brown on the outside, delicate blue/green on the inside, creating a perfectly balanced visual effect. Chris’s forms are simple and strong and shout of an artist’s devotion to care and attention to detail. Tea pots, jugs, bowls and cups that would be a joy to use and would bring joy just to see on a daily basis.
There was plenty more to observe and as the exhibition continued my enjoyment wasn’t diminished as many artists revealed something new and arresting. Five hours flew by and I left as energised as I had been when I entered at midday.
We want Seek & Adore to convey the same joy to our customers. With pages allowing artisans to speak for themselves we want customers to get to know the makers, their worlds, inspirations, aspirations and travails as their creative output develops. Seek & Adore will give the customer the opportunity to access beautiful items from the comfort of their own homes, without the prolonged searching through individual sites, or trudging from gallery to gallery, to find that special item for which they are seeking. There will also be the bonus of a continuing dialogue with all these disparate, creative imaginations and the certain knowledge that craftspeople are being supported.
With the combined talents of artists such as Chris and Sarah and the work of others like Amanda Simmons with her stunning glassware, Michelle Griffiths with her striking sea anemone-shaped fabric stars and Annette Buganksy with her textile inspired ceramics we will achieve this goal.