Bowness exhibition showcases Cumbria's wealth of craft talent

The Westmorland Gazette: Diana Matthews, the driving force behind Collect Cumbria Diana Matthews, the driving force behind Collect Cumbria

SOME of the region’s finest makers share the spotlight in the Collect Cumbria exhibition at Blackwell.

Running until December 31 at Lakeland Arts Trust’s Bowness Arts and Crafts House, the driving force behind the exhibition is Diana Matthews, High Sheriff of Cumbria, who said the exhibition had been a revelation and proved what a wealth of craft talent there was in Cumbria.

“The response to my theme of encouraging the crafts in Cumbria has exceeded my expectations on several fronts, “added Diana.

“The potential for helping craftsmen develop their careers in Cumbria is enormously beneficial to many.

“I am so grateful that Lakeland Arts Trust was willing to undertake having a full selling exhibition where purchasers could take their items immediately and the gap be filled with the craftsmen’s other work from a stock room. Several (of the craftsmen) have sold their entire collections and are having to work hard to replenish stock.”

Among the 25 makers in Collect Cumbria are three who work with glass, all of which present a different angle of the craft - Jo Vincent’s landscape-inspired wall mounted work, Heather Gillespie’s copper-wheel engraved pieces inspired by the coastline of Cumbria and Katy Holford, established sculptor and award-winning international designer who specialises in working creatively with craft production across the world. Her passion is for the alchemical materials of crystal and glass, but she has worked with many other materials and techniques as well, including pewter, lacquerware, silver and ceramics.

Andrew Kay is an award-winning sculptor whose work can be seen throughout the UK, Europe and the USA. From Beckside Studio at Kirkby Lonsdale set in the wild moorland of his native county, he creates life-size sculptures that capture the powerful anatomy and essence of wild beasts using deceptively simple forms and structure.

The exhibition also showcases printmaker Marion Kuit’s work inspired by the interior of Kendal’s remaining snuff works, her hand-cut relief printing technique helping capture the mill’s strong industrial atmosphere.

Based at his workshop in Ambleside, Peter Hodgson works with horn, fashioning it into beakers, keyrings, buttons, broaches, shoe-horns and other items, Kendal-born ceramicist Rebecca Callis’ work is inspired by a love of the set table and the familial rituals associated with food and drink, and Christine Crofts designs and makes tufted pictures and rugs using a tufting gun.

Gordon Baddeley gives a new incarnation to ancient wood. The pieces are often totally abstract, though they can develop distinct animal characteristics. Tom Philipson is a contemporary furniture maker whose aim is to produce high-quality hand-crafted pieces using skills and techniques perfected in the ‘golden age’ of English furniture by Georgian cabinet makers.

And also in the frame is master potter William Plumptre, one of the leading makers in his field, well-known here and abroad.

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