A Ketel Boiling with Ideas
Visit replicas of the working studios of Sarabande makers Esna Su and Castro Smith in their journey to make a unique work commissioned by Ketel One Vodka. Inspired by a trip to the Nolet distillery in Schiedam, the work explores ideas of heritage, craft and the passing down of skills through generations and across borders.
Sarabande Foundation was established by Lee Alexander McQueen to support the most visionary creatives of the future. For London Craft Week 2019, Sarabande has built replicas of the working studios of current and past studio residents Castro Smith and Esna Su to explore their journeys in making commissioned work for Sarabande’s Founding Partner, Ketel One – a family-made Dutch vodka. Inspired by the shared values of craftmanship, heritage and the passing down of skills both through generations and across borders, the finished works have travelled the globe and been worked on by some of the most skilled masters in their craft.
The Ketel One Commission is a collaboration between Ketel One Vodka and Sarabande Foundation, celebrating their ongoing partnership and culminating in a series of artworks to be displayed at the Foundation. Inspired by a trip to the Nolet family’s distillery in Schiedam, the commissioned artworks reflect the iconic history of Ketel One and its shared values with Sarabande of craftsmanship, care and community. Resonating with these principles, chosen commission artists Esna Su and Castro Smith showcase the incredible skills and narratives that inspire their works.
A globally recognised artist and engraver, Castro Smith is creating a hand-engraved vessel that explores the creative journey of an object. The commissioned piece celebrates the exchange of ideas across disciplines – including engraving and hammer raising, as well as embracing unique skills, materials and traditions from different cultures. The piece also represents the commitment to craft involved in making Ketel One Vodka and the Nolet family’s continuing dedication to sourcing the best ingredients and suppliers who share their passion.
Jewellery artist Esna Su is making a sculptural piece using traditional Turkish techniques learnt from her mother and grandmother. For her, she recognises that everything starts with wheat, from the careful process of distilling vodka, to the representation of human life, fertility and bread – essential parts of life. Su’s sculpture symbolises the family’s long history and dedication to their craft, as well as to one another, with 11 stems of wheat made in copper thread, using a Turkish crochet method translated as ‘tighten needles’ – chosen to symbolise the 11 generations of the Nolet family, exchanging knowledge and passing down of skills. In addition, 327 porcelain wheat grains made by women from the ‘Sarabande family’ form part of the installation, symbolising the years passed since the family distillery started, in Schiedam.