I think it’s fair to say that anything the Crafts Council does is well worth a look but when you put them together with the V&A, well then you know you’re going to get something really special. ‘The Power of Making’ is an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, from the (now well known) life sized crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. As well as picking out a few of my favourite pieces from the exhibition, I’ve managed to have a quick chat with guest curator Daniel Charney.
What boundaries did you set yourself for curating this exhibition – to me the possibilities for inclusion would have been endless?
I try to avoid boundaries – the idea was to challenge them, to supersede preconceptions. There were, however, criteria of qualities which were; ingenious ideas, meticulous execution and expressive meaning and form. I also had a list of skills which I was looking to demonstrate.
What was your intention with the exhibition?
To celebrate imaginative use of skill. To update notions about craft and show how it actually exists in all walks of creative making. To showcase the potential of making and craft for innovation and to raise the profile of thinking by making.
Although advances in technology have opened many doors to new ways of “making” it also seems to be forcing people to look back at more traditional ways of making. Would you agree?
The concept of “making” is an integral and precious resource of our times. I would agree that it is offering people to revisit and use traditional ways in combination with new, but as in the article by Christopher Frayling, one of six commissioned for the Power of Making publication, it is not looking back but rather turning. As he explains, the Bauhaus Manifesto should be understood, to gain the knowledge, qualities and values of craft in order to create in the present and the future.
At the “half-way” point of the exhibition you are encouraged to take a seat in the “Tinker Space” for one of a variety of demonstrations from leading makers, as well as a collection of short films submitted by various crafters from around the world. I found it hard to tear myself away from this space. Watching other people “make” is A LOT of fun and the “sound” of people making only helped to bring the exhibition to life. 40 films are shown in total on a loop and I happily sat through all of them! I have, however, only selected 2 of my favourites to share with you here. The full collection of submissions (which runs to almost 170) is available on the ‘Power of Making’ Vimeo group and is well worth a browse through.
‘PhotoGraphy’ by ShiKai Tseng
‘Making a Bangle’ by Bridget Harvey
‘The Power of Making’ is on at the V&A, Cromwell Rd, London until the 2nd of January and is WELL worth a visit.
Top image – Rotational Moulded Shoe by Marloes ten Bhömer. © Marloes ten Bhömer