Crafted – An Exhibition of Traditional British Crafts: 6 February to 29 July 2012
On the First Floor at Fortnum & Mason is an extraordinary collection of works of art. A howling wolf’s head woven from willow hangs from a pillar; across the room is a crab made of moulded metal cutlery. A lifesize sculpture of the Medici Venus keeps company with a hat that resembles a small sandwich; alongside them are hand-painted ceramics, stained-glass panels, jewellery, leatherwork and carved stone bowls. Every item has been created by hand, using ancient and patiently acquired skills; and each is the work of a QEST scholar.
QEST – The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust – was set up in 1990 to protect traditional skills and to support students working in a wide variety of disciplines, from portrait painting to silversmithing. Since then it has provided grants to more than 240 scholars, enabling each one of them to continue and develop their career. Often the scholars use their grants to study with masters of their craft, who pass on their skills in the time-honoured fashion, thus keeping their craft alive for another generation.
(Deidre Hawken, Milliner - Chocolate Box Hat)
As well as celebrating the patience and dedication that each scholar gives to their work, ‘Crafted’ shows the huge appeal that traditional skills still have in our mass-produced, machine-made culture. Each piece is unique and brilliant, the hours of painstaking work that produced it clearly evident. The pieces are simultaneously serious and witty, familiar and startling, traditional and yet extremely modern, and the details of how each thing is made, often by combining ancient skills with modern technology, can be as interesting as the finished result.
This is the fourth such exhibition hosted by Fortnum’s, which has always been a fervent supporter of the handmade and the artisan. Our enthusiasm for British craftsmanship can be seen throughout the store, from the historic clock on our storefront to the handmade jams and chocolates in our Food Halls. We seek out and support producers who value traditional ways of working and who prefer the unique character that comes only when a thing is made by hand; values that underpin this latest exhibition.
This year sees the launch of QEST’s Diamond Jubilee Fundraising Appeal and during these 12 months it hopes to raise sufficient funds to double the value of the scholarships that it awards each year. Fortnum & Mason is proud to be able to support this appeal and to provide a public arena for the work of these very talented scholars.
‘Crafted’, the QEST exhibition, will run from 6 February to 29 July 2012 on the First Floor at Fortnum & Mason. Works are available for purchase and bespoke pieces can be commissioned directly from each artist. Some QEST scholars will be demonstrating their skills as part of the exhibition; for more details, please click here..