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Meet the Craftsmen

Posted by on in Insider Guide to London
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Meet the Craftsmen

Mayfair's rich history of custom-goods has evolved to create a ‘Best of British’ showcase, which blends tradition with contemporary talent. Some of the world's oldest family run business still create from their original unassuming workshops while new craftsmen use the same traditions, but with updated twists.

As part of our ongoing Made in Mayfair experiences, we have asked local artisans (old & new) for their favourite Christmas traditions as well as what to do, see and buy in the area.

Natalie Melton from The New Craftsmen starts this December series... 

Natalie Melton

The New Craftsmen works with a selection of Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the materials, skills and craft products of the British Isles. Natalie, who is one of the founding partners, created the Mayfair organization in 2012. They currently represent a network of over 75 makers working in textiles, silverware, furniture, ceramics, jewellery, glassware and beyond. The New Craftsmen showcase and sell a carefully selected range of products, limited editions and exclusive collaborations via their Mayfair shop & online.

Prior to The New Craftsmen, Natalie spent 5 years as Commercial Director of Arts & Business and managed Crafted, a mentoring scheme pairing skilled craftsmen with leaders from the luxury sector.

Natalie says " We present objects that are deeply connected to culture and place. Our distinct position is to forge collaborations with designers and makers to give a contemporary take on specific skills and materials. From this we offer our customers, interior designers, and architects a range of services that enable them to customise, commission and collaborate with us on developing bespoke pieces".


Christmas gifts suggestions
We’re bursting at the seams with beautiful, hand-crafted Christmas gifts. Some new favourites include potter Iva Polachova’s glazed stoneware candlesticks, festive coloured hand-blown glass from Michael Ruh, exceptional quality Irish linen from 31 Chapel Lane, Scottish cashmere from ESK, & finely carved chopping boards by Tim Plunkett which are as much a work of art as functional pieces of beauty. For unique stocking fillers look to Stephanie Tudor’s ‘Opposite Attract’ Coasters which combine an innovative use of jesmonite with glass, stones & resins – or for something playful, our beech & elm slingshots by Geoffrey Fisher Design are great fun & useful for launching ‘seedbombs’ or fish bait.

Where is the best place to buy British craft outside of London?
2 great days out to learn about and be inspired by the traditions of British arts and crafts would be Kettles Yard in Cambridge and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Both can easily be done in a day and offer a fascinating perspective some of our greatest artists. Kettles Yard is the home of a former curator of the Tate, through which he amassed an extraordinary collection of work from some of our leading artists and set it alongside beautiful craft, objects and personal memorabilia. Turner Contemporary is a beautiful space designed by David Chipperfield that plays host to a exceptionally well curated series of exhibitions. Jermey Deller's English Magic is on until March.; an exploration of mysterious acts and ‘magical’ transformations in British society - its people, myths and folklore as well as its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history. both offer a lovely selection of gifts, prints and books to purchase.

Any craftsmen to watch?
Aimee Betts stands out for her truly innovative use of traditional braiding & knotting techniques, which reference the great maritime knotting & rope-making skills found in Britain. She marries design, colour and texture, and technical adaptivity with brilliance, & we're incredibly excited about the different applications of her craft – for instance we have just launched her ‘Colour Wheel’ mirrors - a collaboration with John Jones picture framers. For Xmas we also have a small but perfectly formed collection of Aimee's braided necklaces and bracelets - perfect for stowing away in a suitcase.

It is also worth investing in Eleanor Lakelin’s modern & contemporary carved wooden vessels, which she sandblasts, bleaches & scorches to conjure up a world of fossilized landscapes or gnarled fruit-wood. We particularly love her new & limited edition vessels carved from 7000 year old bog oak – sourced from one of a group of ancient oak trees discovered by a potato farmer deep ploughing in the Cambridgeshire fens.

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Parents and children can enjoy an exclusive hands-on class directly with Aimee Betts, thanks to the new Crafty Kids Insider Experience. To find out more visit: http://parklane.intercontinental.com/craftykids.html

 

 

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Guest Tuesday, 28 March 2017