Shop local, support local business, invest in the handmade: all messages that have rightly become increasingly more important in recent times. And there’s a fabulous opportunity to be on message this week as Craft Festival returns to Bovey Tracey. What could be better than visiting the stand of Design-Nation’s Cornwall & Devon group, admiring the skill and sheer cleverness in their work, and investing in something gorgeous to take home, or give to someone special?
Ceramic artist Bridget Macklin is based near Truro and uses clay to explore the power of nature, and the damage we have wrought on our surroundings. She takes risks with the pure white porcelain that is her starting place for making, inserting other materials that evoke narratives: paper, raw clay, metal even; striving for refined and lustrous finishes in her vessels and lighting commissions.
The glass vessels and sculptural forms made by Helen Eastham in her Newquay studio are striking in her use of colour and form, painstakingly built up through repeat firings to achieve dazzling and original effects. Ideas are sketched and refined from initial inspirations that Helen finds through her regular walks along the intertidal zones and coastal paths.
Jeweller and silversmith Lucy Spink creates small ‘landscapes’ in tactile recycled silver and carefully selected precious stones, evoking the rocky outcrops and lichen encrustations of her surroundings near Falmouth in Cornwall. Lucy’s individual hand-worked textures are influenced by her fine art training, celebrating the marks of process and the beauty of form, maming pleasing objects to keep nearby.
North Cornwall based Sam Isaacs makes clever and pleasingly retro-seeming desk lamps and lighting features. Under his Reworked banner everything is recycled, using quirky materials like flotsam and jetsam and discarded kitchenalia; even his studio and shop are based in a made-over shipping container, only a mile or so from Port Isaac. Sam’s lamps are witty and characterful, and made with the utmost skill and care.
As regional coordinator Bridget speaks for the group. “My own creations describe my obsession with landscape, but it affects us all so much. The far south-west of England has amazing coastal and rural scenery; living and working here has a huge impact on all of us. As a group we are aware of landscape and seek to celebrate and preserve it though our work.” The Cornwall & Devon group make individual pieces to treasure and study, with intriguing details and thoughtful approaches that make their work a joy.