V&A celebrates “craft for our time” with new exhibition

Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is setting out to show “the ingenuity of contemporary craft” and find a winner from 12 finalists.

Snuff boxes by Romilly Saumarez Smith for the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is to host an exhibition which will award one of 12 designers a £10,000 prize for demonstrating the relevance of craft in the modern world.

A bespoke bicycle, a dissolving clay fountain and a performance installation are all part of a shortlist, which is a broad church demonstrating how craft can be applied through design.

The Women’s Hour Craft Prize, in association with the Crafts Council, is specifically looking at how traditional crafts can be used in new ways.

Neil Brownsword has created a performance installation on China flower-making, one of the last remaining mass production methods which relies on manual dexterity.

Phoebe Cummings has been inspired by a Meissen table found in the museum, to create a dissolving fountain made from raw clay.

Caren Hartley and Lin Cheung are both trained in silver-smithing and jewellery design but they have looked beyond the skills they are known for.

Hartley has designed a handmade bespoke bicycle and Cheung will exhibit Delayed Reactions – a series of politically-inspired pin badges.

Celia Pym’s darned textiles are designed to discuss the value of mending and reusing. Pym, who has previously trained as a nurse will be showing two darned sweaters, which once belonged to an intensive care nurse and a GP.

Ceramicist Alison Britton, who has challenged traditional notions of ceramics for 40 years has entered three pots into the exhibition.

The other shortlisted designers are Emma Woffenden, Andrea Walsh, Romily Saumarez Smith, Peter Marigold, Laura Ellen Bacon and Laura Youngson Coll.

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize has been judged by a panel of 29 and has seen 1500 entries whittled down to 12. These will be displayed from 7September – 5 February 2018.

Senior curator of ceramics and glass at the V&A Alun Graves says “they represent diverse approaches and work across a range of media, creating sculptural installations and performances to refined bespoke design.

“Challenging, thought-provoking, yet often exquisitely beautiful, their work is craft for our time, reflecting and engaging with the world today.”

On 8 November a winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, from the V&A.

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