Vanessa Swann, Non-Executive Director, London Craft Week and Chief Executive, Cockpit Arts
I was overjoyed to witness Jonathan Anderson, Creative Director of Loewe, present the Award for Outstanding Creativity and Craftsmanship to ceramic artist Alison Britton at the London Craft Week Opening Party last Wednesday. Jonathan said that for him Alison signified the best of craft in this country for creative and poetic expression combined with craft skill. How true. His words reminded me how the designing and making of haute couture is often as visionary as any art form, and that the contemporary craft world has its own visionaries, like Alison, who break new territory and influence others, in both creative and commercial terms. This is the oft forgotten role of the independent makers working in the UK today; the micro craft businesses and skilled craft practitioners who make up the thousands of creative freelancers supporting the growth of the luxury goods, craft, fashion, gift, interior and architectural markets. These are the ultimate heroes of our growing creative economy. So a true highlight for me of London Craft Week 2016 was that Alison won her first ever Award in her long career. She was part of the radical group of RCA graduates in the early 1970s whose work laid the foundations for what became known as ‘The New Ceramics’. Working from a London studio she also writes and curates. Her work is in numerous private and public collections including the V&A and she is represented by the Marsden Woo Gallery, where you can see her work from 18 May to 11 June. Do go and see what Jonathan was talking about.