Celebrating and supporting creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship
In its third year running, five makers demonstrating excellence in skill, originality and craftsmanship have been chosen by a TOAST panel. We will offer business and marketing advice, as well as a platform to sell their pieces until the end of this year, with full profits being returned to them.
The New Makers embarking on our 2021 programme are jewellery designer Jodie Metcalfe, basket weaver Julie Gurr, ceramicist Kelsey Rose Dawson, product designer Aude Arago and sculptural artist Corrie Williamson.
From traditionally woven baskets made from British willow to hemp and lime vessels, all of the pieces created by the makers are made by hand and will be made to order.
“There are over 100 varieties of willow that you can use for weaving, and each has its own unique bark colour.”
A calm expanse of the Romney Marshes surrounds the workshop of basketmaker Julie Gurr. Based in a former oast house, just a stone’s throw away from her Hastings home, Julie weaves sculptural yet practical baskets using several different varieties of willow.
It was through working on nature conservation projects in Scotland over 20 years ago that Julie came across willow weaving. Drawn to the versatility, her intrigue led her to learn the craft from master weavers in Glasgow and Galway, before eventually setting up her own basketry business.
From the planting of the willow cuttings to the harvesting and soaking, Julie’s process requires year-round organisation and planning to ensure the final crop is ready to weave with. She takes her inspiration from her coastal surroundings and uses traditional techniques from different cultures such as a Japanese open weave, most commonly used with vines. Each final basket by Julie is favoured for its sustainable properties, whilst utilising the warm, natural colours of willow.
Kelsey Rose Dawson
“It’s a wild guess with clay every time. You have to listen and pay attention to where it's going to take you.”
Ontario-based ceramicist Kelsey Rose Dawson creates hand moulded pots that reference site, location and history. A student of Waterloo School of Architecture, Kelsey’s practice is research-led and material specific, with her studio based in an old silk mill on the banks of the Grand River.
Kelsey takes much of her inspiration from the evolving landscapes to make her vessels. She sources and digs her own clay from the lakeside, using the geographical coordinates of her clay findings to inspire grid-like glaze patterns.
From the digging and sieving of the wild clay, to the wedging and month-long ageing, Kelsey’s process requires time and several rounds of sampling before it is ready to work with. Once perfected, she shapes the clay in moulds to create consistency. Her recent experiments with pit firing give her final vessels a pigmented, smoked finish, whilst the natural colours of the wild clay serve as a map of the local landscape from where it was dug.
“Dancing taught me how to understand volumes and use space. I apply the same knowledge to my forms.”
The works of Paris-based sculptor Aude Arago are informed by a perfect balance of material experimentation and contemporary dance. After a 30-year career in dancing, Aude naturally fell into her craft, taking rhythmical elements of improvisation and movement into her sculptural practice.
As a result, Aude’s hand-built forms are organic, gestural and fluid. Each piece is created from layers of a paste made from lime powder and hemp. Once sculpted, they are left to dry naturally without the use of a kiln. The gently mottled, matte finish is inspired by the traditional Morrocan Tadelakt technique, giving each weighty vessel a softness and warmth.
Based in the artistic suburb of Aubervilliers on the outskirts of the city, Aude works into each form slowly, often turning to drawing and photography as an expression and supporting medium.
“I’m definitely not minimal, but I am specific. I have lots of drawers and materials, everything is in order.”
The studio of multidisciplinary designer Corrie Williamson is tucked away in her garden in Hackney, East London. Her hanging mobiles for the home are composed of a careful balance of materials and influenced by simple and bold shapes – all constructed using traditional metal and woodwork techniques.
It was Corrie’s degree in Textile Design at Brighton School of Art that first sparked her love of colour and materiality. With further studies in jewellery design, Corrie began to explore sculptural forms, eventually scaling up her jewellery designs into mobiles that constantly change in the air when hanging.
Using off-cuts of ash from retired musical instruments along with pieces of salvaged, blackened oak, each piece is entirely unique. The finished forms are minimal and contemporary, referencing the hand of the maker in the soft natural woods and carefully soldered joints.
“Using recycled materials is a celebration of what we already have. It breathes new life and creates new forms.”
Jodie Metcalfe’s sculptural pieces of jewellery are made from recycled gold and silver from her workshop in Durness, Scotland. Her stud and hoop earrings along with gently-hammered pendants have a strong focus on sustainability, with Jodie committing to use reclaimed gemstones and salvaged metals in their natural form.
After enrolling onto a course in 3D Design at Bournemouth & Poole College, Jodie was introduced to an array of traditional and practical skills - from casting and stone setting to experimenting with precious and base metals. With a love for material texture, Jodie was dawn to creating jewellery inspired by native gold and silver deposits, leading her to specialise in silversmithing.
Sculpting directly with the metal, Jodie uses a handful of simple tools to make her delicate yet bold pieces that nod to the cragged rock formations on her doorstep. She has recently started fossicking for gemstones around Scotland, with the long-term goal of creating entirely circular jewellery designs.
Read about our previous makers on the New Makers Alumni.