At the beginning of 2022 Design-Nation set out the future priorities for our portfolio: Excellence, Diversity and Sustainability. These are all qualities evident in our latest tranche of new members, selected earlier this month by our independent panel. We’re particularly pleased about the wide diversity of practice these talented designers and makers are embracing, and as ever we are grateful to our always anonymous changing panel of industry experts for making the tough choices about who to support.
There are twenty-four new members: eight Full* member brands representing ten designers (seven sole traders and a trio who work together), twelve Graduates*, and four Associates*. Between them they work in over a dozen disciplines; are scattered across the UK from South Lanarkshire to East Sussex; and bring wide and exciting cultural references and backgrounds, from at least seven European nations, as well as Pakistan, Japan and Brazil, and of course the UK.
Our network has always had significant strength in ceramic design, and we have eight more makers to bolster the numbers, making all kinds of decorative and functional wares. Top of the list is Louise Bell whose attractive and thoughtful pieces re-imagine traditional children’s toys and endangered species. Our new Associates are Nina Newman, whose work explores natural forms like leaves and tendrils, and Rachel Peters who throws stoneware in curvaceous vessels. Five Graduates swell our ranks: Clare Palmer and Faith Mowbray play respectively with swirling form and strongly worked surfaces, while Nehal Aamir’s colourful pieces celebrate Pakistani truck art. Vladka Thwaites brings her Croatian/English heritage to her elegant vessels and Yunji Shin’s playful work skirts the edge of kitsch and raises a smile.
Seven more textile designers join us too, showing the strengths of this multifaceted matter. Full member Karina Thompson uses sophisticated digital embroidery to explore medical issues and mental health. Graduate new joiners include the vibrant botanicals of Freya’s Prints (Freya Hufton), hand-tufted upholstery fabrics by Judi Archer and intricate hand embroideries by RSN-trained Sabina Lima. Other Graduates are Sandra McWilliams who creates colourful and textured geometric designs in weave, and Suzanne Ager who delicately combines embroidery and print in her work. The sixth Graduate is Botanica Textiles, the brand launched by Natalie McCormack, who sustainably sources and dyes her yarns, before weaving subtle pieces for interiors.
There’s a great selection of interior product in other harder materials in this intake. ALP Design is the brainchild of Annick Petersen who designs, makes and works with other artisans to create lighting, furniture and objets d’art in leather, marble, wood and rush. Waywood Furniture Creation crafts in wood and is a collaboration between three skilled makers, Barnaby Scott, Clive Brooks and Simon Smith. Deborah Timperley casts glass to make sculptural and functional works in three distinct ranges, while Elizabeth Sinkova uses multiple processes on dramatic feature glass for doors, windows and curios, usually to commission. Associate Lisbeth Moon is developing her Pressed Floral Art range of prints.
Finally for those who like to wear good design, we have a quartet of very different jewellers – something for everyone. Full Member Francesca Marcenaro has mastered the intricate process of glass granulation and draws on fairy tales and nature to inspire her statement be-jewelled cuffs and other pieces. Mark Newman has also become a Full Member and makes highly individual forms in rings and pendants that draw on his experience of the neurological condition aphantasia and his knowledge of both traditional and contemporary techniques. Graduate Katherine James’ conceptual practice embraces the time consuming making of chain mail for both personal adornment and as art pieces. And Nina Mannerkoski joins as an Associate with her Wish Mountain Jewellery brand which marries traditional Scandinavian mythology and contemporary making.
We’re thrilled to have these fascinating makers and designers join the portfolio and looking forward to supporting them on their creative journeys. Do stay tuned.
* Find out more about our types of membership here. Next deadline for applications: 1 November 2022.