As we come towards the end of July and the start of August certain annual patterns are noticeable in the workshop. The roller door is open fully to usher in welcome light and fresh air, and the fans busily turn their heads, keeping an eye on the work being done. It is not just the fans that are busy, the makers too are pulling out all the stops working towards an important deadline.
Over the last number of years, this time of year has for me, become synonymous with the preparation for the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design, the largest selling exhibition of designer/maker furniture in the UK.
2019 will be my fourth year exhibiting at the show and so it is starting to become a tradition, a yearly ritual where the summer months are a busy time spent designing and creating new pieces to be completed in time for the shows launch.
The exhibition requires makers to present work which has not been included in previous years ensuring no two visits to the Neo Classical Thirlestaine long gallery at Cheltenham College are the same. From a maker’s perspective, this stipulation creates an opportunity to get our thinking caps on, to create new work and to expand our portfolios. For those of us who do not have time to be as proactive as we would like in the creation of new pieces, the exhibition affords us the chance to design without the constraints of a brief, to make pieces that have been waiting patiently on the pages of our sketchbook since that day we were meant to be doing something more important.
This year’s exhibition is extra special as it is the 25th installment and its longevity is a testament to the organisers and the hard work they put in year round to ensure that the show not only survives but goes from strength to strength and in my opinion improves yearly. Bringing together the work of more than seventy makers the exhibition comprises mostly of bespoke furniture pieces and these are complimented by pieces of jewellery, sculpture art and glass. In total the number of exhibits exceed three hundred spread over five rooms. Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design is an excellent day out for those who have an interest in bespoke furniture or in craft in general. It provides a great opportunity to meet craftspeople and speak to them about their pieces and the stories behind them. Similarly for the makers it is a welcome break from the workshop, to spend a few dust free days meeting visitors who take an interest in and appreciate what you do and among a great community of craftspeople, the long evenings and weekends spent preparing seem very much worthwhile.
Celebration and Craftsmanship 2019 runs from Saturday August 17th to Monday August 26th at the Thirlestaine Long Gallery in the grounds of Cheltenham College, bath road Cheltenham. The show runs each day from 10 Am until 4 Pm and it would great to see you there.