April 21 2010
Lucia van der Post
Fortnum & Mason may not be on everybody’s daily promenade, but from April 22 it is well worth a detour, for it is launching a selling exhibition called Handmade: A British Craft Exhibition, which is designed to celebrate the art of the hand-made.
Now, I know of no better way of adding a bit of a lift to my day than seeing what some of our best and most creative young (and some not so young) people are up to. And here I have to declare an interest – I wrote the introduction to the exhibition catalogue, and I did so because I was so utterly charmed by the pieces that the craftspeople have come up with.
Fortnum & Mason, that well-known haunt of all who love good things to eat, has asked them to concentrate on pieces that relate to the arts of the table, so what you will find is a changing array (depending on what has been bought and therefore disappeared from the shelves) of some 200 items – enchanting teapots (by Chris Keenan, first picture) and plates, cups and saucers, candelabra, some divine doilies exquisitely wrought from finest silver (by Siân Matthews, third picture). There are bowls and funky ceramic ice-cream cones (by Anna Barlow, second picture), there are pieces made out of porcelain, wood, silver, glass and resin. Some of it is beautiful, some of it witty, some just plain desirable. Prices range from £50 to £24,000.
You can check out the catalogue online before visiting, and though you cannot buy these particular pieces online, you could always contact the individual whose work you fancy and look them up in their own studio. Also, you can call Fortnum & Mason and reserve items. The exhibition is on until June 20.