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Another Seven Contemporary Designers Join Our Portfolio

Design-Nation works with partners across the craft and design sector to support and promote the best talent and most innovative creative entrepreneurs across the UK. Membership is by application and is reviewed by an independent panel twice a year. Our regular August panel have now chosen seven more impressive makers for Design-Nation membership.

Earlier selection panels in 2020 have produced an impressive variety of practitioners in glass, metal, ceramics and textiles. Our latest cohort’s practices are dominated by two materials: wood and metal, in an impressive array of products and objects. Profiles for each are our website (follow the highlighted links below). And do look out for more information on our social media feeds soon.

Aidan Donovan makes thoughtful elegant furniture and interior products. We first came across his work at annual furniture fair Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in summer 2019 while judging the New Talent Award. Aidan was Highly Commended for his new take on a quirky midcentury classic, the telephone table. This signature piece is crafted in British woods: oak, elm and willow. After a year in our incubator level Graduate Membership, Aidan has moved up to full membership as he continues to develop original and stylish objects for the home.

Brighton-based duo Ash & Plumb also work in wood, using traditional woodturning techniques to create striking contemporary vessels and homeware. Barnaby Ash and Dru Plumb delight in creating finely judged shapes from a wide variety of woods: silver birch, Sussex oak, elm burl, spalted beech, ash and sweet chestnut, honing their techniques to bring out the natural beauty in their materials.

The August selection includes four jewellers, each with her own very distinctive style. Swedish-born Carin Lindberg combines recycled sterling silver with traditional gems and other found and often beachcombed stones chosen for their beauty, giving new meaning to notions of what is precious. Ella Fearon-Low’s award winning work has a unique aesthetic, drawing on influences as varied as 19th century domestic design and post-modernist architecture. In her London workshop Ella uses distinctively carved Lucite which she sets in gold and silver, then adorns with vintage pearls.

Like Carin Lindberg, Lucy Spink is based in Cornwall, whose ancient landscapes with rocky outcrops and lichens inform her delicate recycled silver and gold pieces. Finishing touches to each piece are achieved with her grandfather’s workshop tools. Ning Art Jewellery is an exciting new brand created by Chih-Ning Li who has undertaken training in specialist Florentine engraving techniques in Italy and London, as well achieving a Masters in silversmithing at Birmingham. Now based in London, Chih-Ning brings Renaissance design principles and techniques into a contemporary focus.

The seventh designer is Kim Sutherland, an artist and designer with significant experience as an educator and now working on a practice-based doctorate at University of the Arts London. Kim transforms sheet metal using skilled processes including etching, electroforming, lost-wax casting and fine fabrication, resulting in dramatic objects inspired by rituals and the sacred.

Sustainability continues to be important to our latest intake of designers, with all choosing their materials carefully and using recycled, end-run and vintage objects which are locally sourced; replacing dangerous chemicals with ones that are more environmentally friendly, low odour and safer to dispose of; finding further use for their own waste and offcuts; and suitable suppliers of recycled packaging.

We congratulate these clever and impressive designer-makers on being selected by our panel, and we can’t wait work with them, support their practices, and introduce their work to our showcases, audiences and partners.

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Liz Cooper


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