Founded in 2009, the Crafted programme has now worked with over 60 businesses in the luxury craft sector. The initiative was founded with the aim of finding and nurturing talented craftspeople, keeping their skills alive and showcasing their talents to a wider audience. Part of this includes providing one-to-one mentorship and a series of developmental workshops with some of the UK’s leading luxury leaders.
The programme sets out to foster a sense of entrepreneurialism in highly skilled artisans, from cabinet makers to ceramicists, milliners to textile designers and printers. The aim is to develop the commercial side of their business while providing opportunities to help them to expand and realise the extra potential beyond the traditional scope of many craft businesses.
The class of 2015 are Alexandra Llewellyn, Eleanor Lakelin, Insley & Nash, Silvia Weidenbach, Struthers London, Tallowin and Theresa Nguyen.
The seven makers were selected by a panel of industry experts including Jo Newton, Head of Buying Fortnum & Mason, Savoir Beds, Charlotte Keesing, Walpole, Peter Ting, Craft Expert and Curator, Toby Ecuyer, Creative Director, Redman Whiteley Dixon.
Crafted’s pool of mentors have been specially selected from across the luxury and craft industries, and paired with their respective craftsmen by a committee led by Crafted Chairman and Founder, Guy Salter. The 2015 mentors include leading craftsmen and business leaders such as Pamela Harper, Chairman, Chairman, Halcyon Days, Alistair Hughes Managing Director, Savoir Beds and Robert Ettinger, CEO at Ettinger.
The Class of 2015 will immediately begin their mentorship, where they will develop business acumen under the guidance of their mentors.
Michelle Emmerson, CEO of Walpole, commented, ‘Discovering and supporting new talent is a key priority for Walpole and our members. As luxury industry leaders it is our responsibility to ensure the future success and sustainability of a sector which is forecast to be worth £51.5bn to the UK economy by 2019. These craftspeople and their small businesses underpin this success, these are the brands of the future and we must do everything we can to nurture and protect them, helping them to establish and cement their position as luxury artisans both here in the UK, as well as overseas.’
Guy Salter, Founder and Chairman of Crafted, commented, ‘Once again the Crafted Programme takes a group of outstanding craftsmen and women and aims over the course of the next twelve months to help them grow and develop their businesses, so their skills can be passed on and continue to underpin British luxury. For in a highly competitive global marketplace exceptional quality of making and materials provide the tangible foundations that ever-more discerning consumers increasingly demand. The Crafted Class of 2015 is one of the most talented intake we have had and seem determined to make the most of the opportunity of working alongside some of our industry’s best business brains.’
The winning applicants will be invited to take part in and exhibit at a Luxury Crafted Showcase in association with patron Vacheron Constantin at Fortnum & Mason during London Craft Week later in May 2016.
The selected brands are:
Launched in December 2010, Alexandra Llewellyn Designs embody an exquisitely unique vision of the oldest recorded board game in the world. The British designer works with an incredible network of British craftsmen, and has designed a collection of 10 backgammon boards, also taking one-off commissions for games tables and games boards. Every detail is created in close conversation with the client, creating a truly original way to commemorate memories and life achievements. Alexandra works with a team of master craftsmen who each specialise in different techniques and materials, making each unique commission an original to be enjoyed by generations to come.
Having learnt to carve and sculpt wood using centuries-old tools, today Eleanor Lakelin employs traditional and modern techniques to create vessels and sculptural forms using only sustainable wood felled in the British Isles. Eleanor is interested in the way natural elements and processes layer and colour wood and how the passage of time is etched into the fibres of the material. She peels back bark to reveal the organic chaos that can exist in the material itself or builds up layers of texture through carving and sandblasting. Eleanor is based at Cockpit Arts in London.
INSLEY & NASH
Insley & Nash are a London based bespoke fabric screen printing and dyeing studio who specialise in high quality, hand crafted techniques. Insley & Nash have experience and expertise in the fashion, costume, art and interiors industries, offering one-off pieces, bespoke sampling and full UK production. Past clients include Mulberry, Kensington Place, Disney, Tom Ford, The National Theatre and many more.
German designer Silvia Weidenbach holds an MA in Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery from the Royal College of Art, London and a Diploma in Fine Art from the University of Art and Design, Burg Giebichenstein, Halle. Her jewellery is a combination of traditional goldsmithing and silversmithing techniques and digital craft. The Royal College of Art graduate incorporates diamonds entirely set by hand with latest techonology, notably that of the haptic arm, a digital sculpting tool allowing the user to shape ‘virtual clay’ of a design. In May 2015 Silvia was announced winner of the Goldsmiths’ Fair Best New Design Award for her forward-thinking brooch collection Granny’s Chips: Reloaded, a humorous take on the renowned Cullinan Diamond chippings.
Founded by London watchmaker Craig Struthers and Birmingham antiquarian horologist Rebecca Struthers, the Struthers London studio combines award-winning design with traditional fine hand skills in twenty-first century British watchmaking. By applying abilities acquired from years spent as vintage and antique watch restorers with their training in jewellery and design, Struthers London re-commissions high-grade antique and vintage watch movements recycled from the past. The playful concept of restoring and modifying to give a contemporary purpose creates instant provenance to modern design by allowing the reinvention of intended purpose. Founded in 2013, Struthers became the first watchmakers to be awarded a Lonmin Design Innovation Award, since then they have won a series of accolades and collaborated with British car manufacturer Morgan Motor Company.
Mark Tallowin is an award winning Leatherworker who specialises in Luxury handbags, each of which is personally crafted by the designer himself in Italian leather, French linen and gold plated brass. His label TALLOWIN is known for the Core Collection of handbags, all of which are made to order in the Fitzrovia atelier and only available direct. Each bag is stamped with a unique sequence number and has the clients name hidden within its structure, taking roughly a week to make each item. The label was launched with a project known as The 4.4.8. Experiment. At the end of a two month experiment, the bags had traveled as far as New York and the Scottish Highlands, Pacific beaches and Italian photoshoots.
As an Artist Silversmith, Theresa is passionate about designing and making beautiful pieces which are spiritually uplifting and inspiring, to allow her clients to mark special moments in their lives and enrich the spaces that they live or work in. Theresa set up her business in the Jewellery Quarter in 2008 after having achieved a First class degree in Jewellery and Silversmithing and then completing a one year Post Graduate residential programme at Bishopsland. Her brand designs and makes original handcrafted decorative pieces, silverware and jewellery that are realised to the highest standards of craftsmanship in silver and other precious metals.