They are no longer and individual designer or artist, but part of a singular unit, working for the group, not for the self.
At least, for the duration of the group’s show at London’s ICA, this will be the case, when Grantchester Pottery will take over the arts centre’s Reading Room and transform it into a living workshop and showroom space.
During its tenure at the space, the gallery will become a place for the designers to develop, document and display their works, including anthropomorphic glazed stoneware lampshades, plant pots and designs for patterned wallpaper, textiles and furniture.
All pieces will bear the signifier of the GP emblem, with individual artists’ contributions remaining unknown.
The group’s name is drawn from the history rural village of Grantchester, a village on the River Cam or Granta in Cambridgeshire. It was here that at the turn of the 20th century such literary luminaires as Rupert Brooke, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, EM Forster & Virginia Woolf met to share their ideas, fostering a sense of collaboration and collusion.
The name of the forthcoming ICA show, Artist Decorators, is drawn from the same era – namely from Vorticist Wyndham Lewis’ 1913 letterhead for the Omega Workshops, the Fitzrovia-based design enterprise founded by the Bloomsbury Group.
The Omega Workshops’ goal was to marry decoration and utilitarianism, using its Modernist standpoint to create a whole new way of viewing traditional crafts and art.
It’s a goal carried forward by Grantchester Pottery today, and judging from their previous works, it’s something of a visual treat – regardless of its ideologies.
The Grantchester Pottery: Artist Decorators will run from 19 June – 14 August at Fox Reading Room, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London, SW1Y