‘Velvet’ 2006 by  Mårten Medbo; Photograph: Mårten Medbo, 2006

Assemble 2010 (& Crafts mag party!)

Published 23 Jun 2010 by Teleri L-J

Assemble 2010, the Crafts Council conference, welcomed the great and the good to debate about 'the economic innovation and social value of craft in the new economy'. With a head still swirling with ideas and numbers, I couldn't possibly manage a comprehensive account of everything that was said and done. But here are a few of our favourite images and comments throughout the programme (not to mention some pics of the party that we at Crafts magazine hosted at the end of a sunny and stimulating day).

All photos by Tas Kyprianou

  • 1

    Mike Press began proceedings asking that we focus on the C word (Craft), not the B word (Budget) and make sure there’s no mention of the F word…......what!.....oh, football.

  • 2

    First up was a series of presentations on making and creative production. Here’s Michael Eden, aka the ipotter, talking about how and why digital tools make up part of his practice. That’s one of his Wedgwood’nt Tureens behind him.

  • 3

    Here’s Andrew Cornell Robinson, director of ACR Studios and a faculty member of Parsons School of Design. His presentation trotted over loads of interesting stuff, a Parsons/LVMH collaboration, his own project creating objects for specific historical characters, and his inspirations which include Henry C Mercer, an American who, among other achievements, built his own concrete house in the early 20th century, his ‘Castle for the New World’.

  • 4

    Here’s Lynne Murray, a jeweller and brand director of Holition, a company working to develop ‘augmented reality’ technology for high-end jewellery, watch and accessories companies (making it possible to try on pieces in real time, digitally, while online)

  • 5

    And finally from this panel is Tom Gallant, an artist who creates painstaking papercuts from images of pornography. He talked about his collaboration with fashion designer Marios Schwab, the nature of collaboration and the balance between commercial pressures and artistic development.

  • 6

    Shane Waltener worked on ‘an exploration through making’ the whole time. He created a wall of sugar sculptures, which everyone was welcome to participate in. Quotes and questions appeared up there, made manifest through icing, sticky and sweet.

  • 7

    Matthew B Crawford, author of The Case for Working with Your Hands: or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good talked about about just that. He focused on doing, fixing, making, commenting that ‘choosing is not creating no matter how creatively it is marketed’. He put up this picture saying not everyone recognises these anymore, ‘do you know what it is?’ he asked – I do, I do, me, pick me! Is there a prize?

  • 8

    Here’s Martin Conreen in a kind of Craftsmanship Anonymous. He brought a shoe he’d made (he holds aloft) and one that he’d bought (a ‘British’ shoe that had been UK-designed, lasts made in the UK, prototypes and leathers done in Italy with the final pieces made in India). He happily confesses to the awfulness of his own work and called for a rethink of the complexities of sustainability.

  • 9

    Zoe Laughlin of King’s Materials Library, and Tom Fisher of Nottingham Trent University amazed and entertained with their Table of Curiosities, a whizz around the weirdest of stuff. Including a runaway container of liquid nitrogen.

  • 10

    And not to forget the myriad of information and revealing numbers presented in the Crafts Council’s 3 new research documents. Here, management consultant Gerri Morris gives us a taster. But to find more, click here.

  • 11

    And fittingly for a venue like LSO St Luke’s, Daniel Miller, author or The Comfort of Things and Stuff, appeared godlike from a projection to let us know that an emotional connection to things is not superficial commercialism but perhaps a relationship we should respect and engage with.

  • 12

  • 13

    After all that concentrating, it was time for an old-fashioned shindig. Crafts magazine host the afterparty for the thirsty thinkers.

  • 14

    Guys…..where are you…?

  • 15

    Aha, here you are!
    Party on.

  • 16

    Thanks to everyone who was involved. Job well done.
    (is it obvious I just learnt how to do animations on Photoshop?)

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