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Contemporary Craft Festival: Meet the makers

PUBLISHED: 15:48 04 June 2014 | UPDATED: 15:57 04 June 2014

Solidwool products are made using a strong and attractive wool composite inspired by the local countryside

Solidwool products are made using a strong and attractive wool composite inspired by the local countryside


Last month we announced that we are partnering up with the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey again this year. The festival, which takes place in June, is one of the biggest on the Arts calendar and showcases local and national craft talent. GEMMA CLAPP looks at the Devon makers that will be on show at the event

You can see these Devon makers plus many more talented crafters at the Contemporary Craft Festival, which takes place from 6-8 June in Bovey Tracey. See for details and keep checking our website and social media channels for details on how you can win free weekend tickets to the show.

You may have seen our proud announcement in the April issue stating that Devon Life is the Regional Media Partner for this year’s Contemporary Craft Festival, which takes place in Bovey Tracey this June. As part of this exciting partnership, we’ve been given an insight into the what fantastic local artists and makers will be appearing at this year’s show.

Solidwool, Buckfastleigh

In 2012, Justin Floyd decided to step away from his successful career in product design and returned to his hometown of Buckfastleigh for inspiration. Here, the stunning Dartmoor National Park, paired with the thriving manufacturing town and historic woollen industry, inspired him to form Solidwool.

Solidwool uses a wool composite made using fleece from upland UK sheep which can be moulded to create attractive, functional and engaging everyday objects.

“We are designers and innovators with a desire to celebrate the manufacturing history of our town and to create contemporary products that have a timeless appeal,” Justin explains. “We want to use design and materials innovatively to create beautiful, desirable and long-lasting products using British wool.”

Solidwool’s first product, the Hembury Chair (pictured), launched this March, and they are now developing a range of furniture and housewares using the wool composite, which they call, you guessed it, solidwool.

Corinne Evans, Okehampton

Mother Nature’s undulating landscape and the contours that intricately depict it in map design inspire the core of Corrinne Evans’ stunning semi-precious stone range of jewellery. Carefully sourced natural stones are stylishly set against frosted sterling silver and titanium handmade chain mail to highlight the intricate beauty of nature’s colour palette. The varying media and materials create a beautifully fluid and tactile texture that evokes the rough valleys, smooth streams and rocky hills of the English landscape.

Since graduating with a HND in Jewellery and Silversmithing at the Birmingham School of Jewellery and a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Crafts from Falmouth, Corrine has crafted bespoke pieces which skilfully merge her expertise in traditional silversmithing techniques with contemporary applied art ideas.

Offering unique and versatile bespoke jewellery that can be worn in various different ways and beautiful stackable rings in a multitude of widths and styles, Corrinne creates striking, easy to wear one-off statements that can accentuate both casual and formal wear and combine beautifully to establish a different look every time.

Bethan Jones, Okehampton

Traditional ceramics with a modern twist is what makes Bethan’s pottery stand out from the crowd. Her stunning slipware range is functional yet creative, which she hopes mean they can be both “used and enjoyed by others”.

Despite only working in the industry since graduating from university in 2011, she went on to work for popular ceramicist Lisa Hammond to learn the trade and the rest, they say, is history. Now, as well as creating her own range of ceramics, Bethan is an associate member of the prestigious Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

Bethan’s work is thrown using red earthenware clay which she decorates with slip, oxides and sgraffito - a technique where the slip is etched into to reveal the clay body underneath.

“Originally I studied fashion and textiles, so my love of print and illustration give a contemporary look to a traditional ceramic process,” clarifies Bethan. “The illustrative decoration is abstract and organic with lively motifs.”

Jan Brewerton, Plymouth

Another member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, printmaker Jan Brewerton started her art career as a fine artist and painter after studying Fine Art at university, but has long held a passion for the printmaking process. Her subjects and motifs arise from diverse sources: the domestic environment, travel, nature, small details often overlooked in life, and the counterpoint of home and the world being just a few of her more frequent sources of inspiration.

The motifs Jan creates, which often begin as close studies of everyday domestic objects such as vessels, artefacts or fruit forms, are transfigured through colour and through multiple techniques of mark-making and collage to create her masterpiece.

“My interest in printmaking is primarily in the complex balance of figuration and abstraction achieved in the painted and printed image,” she says.

Ambrose Vevers, Ashburton

Ambrose Vevers is a woodsman who creates beautifully crafted furniture from locally grown timber. Then, drawing upon traditional woodworking skills such as steam bending, he crafts the products without the use of machinary.

“I think that my work is characterful with hand tooling,” he says. “I believe it adds an important human warmth to my work that machining lacks.”

While studying 3D Design at Falmouth University, Ambrose experimented with modern manufacturing and design, which has given him a creative and contemporary based to his work.

“I aim to produce functional heirlooms of the future that age gracefully. My furniture ranges from under £100 to over £1,000 for large bespoke one-off commissions.”

Helen Brice, Tiverton

Helen has been designing and making jewellery since she formed Helen Brice Designs after graduating in 1999. The Precious Collection coordinates the beautiful colours of precious and semi-precious gemstones with the warmth of natural precious metals.

Her outstanding ranges of rings are partnered with beautiful necklaces, brooch and earring designs, which effortlessly bridge the gap between contemporary and classical jewellery design. With inspiration drawn from architectural details and celestial patterns, Helen has created a uniquely versatile collection which can be tailored to create bespoke jewellery incorporating sentimental gems for her customers.

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