James Cropper were one of the first companies to support London Craft Week. We took the opportunity to speak to Mark Cropper, Chairman of James Cropper, to find out what makes craft so important to them.
LCW: Hi Mark, your support means a lot to London Craft Week, what encouraged you to take part?”
Mark: “Craft is really the basis of all industry – no matter how technical it has become at some point it started in craft, and that is certainly true for paper. It is about creating beautiful products of the highest quality.
LCW: In today’s digital world there’s always a distraction. As journalist India Knight recently said, “digital is killing creativity.” What are you thoughts on that?
Mark: “I really agree with that, I think without a pencil and paper nothing would happen – when you pick them up there’s no distraction, you can sketch and experiment, and really create.
At a Condé Nast Luxury event in Florence last year (April 2015) Albert Elbas of Lanvin spoke about how he had asked around his friends, among whom are many designers and artists, and found there was a general consensus that all creativity begins with a pencil and paper.”
LCW: “It certainly is the great equaliser – anyone can create a drawing or design. The idea that so many of the wonderful pieces of craft work that will be on show during London Craft Week started off as sketches on paper is rather wonderful. How else does paper play a role in the world of Craft?”
Mark: “Good paper is the secret of luxury, of packaging, wrapping, and even the label. It’s about how it feels, the way something is finished. It’s honest!”
LCW: “So paper is not just the beginning, but also the end. It’s strange to think that what the many works of art, the jewels, and all kinds of other craft works rely on for beautiful presentation is paper. It’s not just the end product though, don’t you also pay huge attention to how the paper is produced?”
Mark: “If you are sustainable in an environmental sense, you are sustainable in a business sense. Our fibres are all sourced from sustainable forests or recycling. The latter is growing all the time, not least since we developed the world’s first plant to recycle paper coffee cups. Contrary to some expectations, our recycled products are of the very highest quality.”