The collaboration was made possible through Guilded, a company that works with innovative British artists who draw on traditional craftsmanship techniques, and combine and experiment with materials to develop new artistic processes.
Since 1887, when Frank Smythson opened the doors of his first store on London’s New Bond Street, Smythson has been creating pieces that capture life’s unfolding narrative. Frank’s original trading card for his new venture detailed his offering of ‘First class stationery, leather goods and cabinet work’, which remains much the same today, and paper has been intrinsically woven into the Smythson story ever since. Smythson would soon become renowned for creating bespoke suites of stationery for a number of notable figures, including the Maharajas of India and European Royalty. Today, elements of the brand’s famous stationery craftsmanship can be glimpsed not only in their notebooks and stationery collections, but also throughout their selection of leather bags, accessories and home pieces.
Gill has transformed Smythson’s telltale Nile Blue paper, instantly recognised in their iconic blue packaging, into a series of bespoke artworks, which is being showcased throughout October, for both London Craft Week and Frieze. Paper has been central to Gill’s work since she visited Japan in the 1970s, where traditional papermakers are regarded as national treasures. Gill was moved by their exquisite artistry, which is rooted in the philosophy of working with a medium in its purest form. Inspired by spatial awareness and architectural ideas, her works are built in woven layers, and explore the fine balance between fragility and durability.
Visit Smythson’s Sloane Street store until Sunday 24th October to see Gill’s exquisite works.