Craft With Unique Stories

Billionaire looks at some the most unique hand-crafted gifts from The New Craftsmen for the giving season.

The New Craftsmen is a London-based collective aiming to redefine the value of craft and move away from homogenised design. Co-founded in 2012 by Mark Henderson, Catherine Locke and Natalie Melton, it now represents over 120 craftsmen with skills ranging from weaving to ceramics and furniture design. Many of its artisans offer little-known skills that might otherwise quietly disappear. Managing director Yelena Ford says that gifting is a growing market for them as people look for something more meaningful, a one-of-a-kind item that comes with its own story.

“A gift crafted by another individual is a pure expression of ‘self’ connecting you to another person — their story, process, and sense of place — in a very literal way,” says Ford. “They cease to be transient objects but become beautiful heirlooms, gifted with the knowledge that they could be passed down for generations to come.”

Billionaire picks some of its most beautiful crafts for the giving season.

Stem Vase by Malgorzata Bany, £900

Malgorzata Bany is an artist and designer specialising in Jesmonite, based in London. Working across a wide range of disciplines, including sculpture, furniture and homewares, her work adheres to principles of sensuality, tactility and minimalism. She also loves developing her own pigments.

Madame X, After Sargent Painting by Holly Frean, £1,900

This is part of a series of oil studies painted onto reclaimed wooden palettes that examine the lives of renowned artists and their subjects. Award-winning artist Frean has been commissioned by Kit Kemp and Johnny Boden, as well as working with brands such as Burberry and Paul Smith.

Ash Vessel with Wild Knots by Anthony Bryant, £4,800

Bryant is internationally recognised for his work in ‘green’ woodturning. Working from his studio in Cornwall, he creates work that stretches the potential of the material to its limits, both in scale and its breath-taking thinness. His thin walled green-turned wood pots showcase the technique he has developed since he began woodturning at the age of 13, with many pieces so fine the light shines through.

Interrupted Pattern III Handwoven Panel (Medium) by Catarina Riccabona, £1,900

Catarina Riccabona is a loom weaver, working with natural materials such as linen, hemp and alpaca, producing intricately woven throws, cushions and textile art. Sustainability heavily influences Riccabona’s creative approach. Drawing inspiration from tribal textiles, vintage grain bags and linen towels, each of her pieces is hand woven on a traditional loom from her studio in south-east London.

Looking at Minnie Cunningham Illustrated Plate by Agalis Manessi, £660

Agalis Manessi creates charming majolica ceramic animals and figurines, drawing influences and inspiration from a diverse range of sources. Referencing Renaissance frescos through to Fauvist painters, she strives for poetic simplicity, an expressive representation that belies the difficulty of her process. This decorative piece is inspired by the painting Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford by Walter Sickert.

Large Guardian Table Lamp (Petrol) by Camilla Bliss, £1,800

Camilla Bliss is a London-based contemporary designer and ceramicist who draws inspiration from historical practices, social rituals and the parallels between the modern world and myths of the past. Her work is regularly exhibited across the UK, from her involvement in the Chisenhale Studios Into the Wild programme in 2014, to her recent residency with the Barbican Arts trust.

Palm House by Katie Spragg, £4,100

Katie Spragg is a ceramicist who creates unique hand-made sculptures that explore how nature continues to grow and thrive beyond the urban reality that dominates many landscapes. Her work advocates the simple pleasure of being outside in nature, with her pieces often inspired by a specific place, whether it be Forde Abbey in Somerset where she was an artist in residence; the pavement outside her studio in London; or, as with this piece, Palm House at Kew Gardens.


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