This morning I spent some time looking over a new exhibition that the Crafts Council of Ireland is presenting and showing in London this week. Read more about it here.

James Carroll made a beautiful greenwood Ash ladder for the show. Here’s a photo:

This ladder can be commissioned for you made to measure by James Carroll. It can be made any size you need. Who could pass that offer up?

Here is an excerpt that I’ve taken from the website about the value of craft that I think is beautifully expressed.

The value of craft

Within our fast-paced world, there still exists, in the most traditional sense, artisans, craftspeople. Men and women who, in the most fundamental human way, produce objects of value and beauty from their own imagination and with their own hands.

But a new generation of energetic, passionate designer-makers is connecting new ideas and technologies with traditional materials and techniques. They appreciate and advocate the connection between the head and the hand. Where something is made and who makes it should be as relevant as who designed it and what it stands for. The person and the place hold meaning.

William Morris firmly believed that the artist should also be a craftsman, that he should not only conceive the artwork, but should create it as well. He despised the machine-driven over supply of the 1851 exhibition, labeling its contents “…tonnes upon tonnes of unutterable rubbish”.

The recent proliferation of consumer goods has been part of a similar geographic separation of design and production. Many would argue this has led to a devaluing of the object and its meaning. Provenance and authenticity are lost and replaced with brand driven messages devoid of substance.

Today’s contemporary designer-makers offer a beautifully simple alternative, enabling us to feel better and live responsibly and well. In this new world, slow things, the things that take time, all bring new value.

And through this, craft creates renewed economic value for us. That is why in Ireland and throughout Europe, craft is increasingly being seen as an integrated and vibrant part of the creative sector.

There are more than 5,700 people working in craft in Ireland today. Located throughout the country, these designer-makers bring sustainable employment to localities, building tourism and cultural value. They inspire us with their passion, creativity and skill. “A Place to Gather” is an exhibition presented by the Crafts Council of Ireland and endeavors to bring a flavour of this to London Design Festival 2012. Welcome.

Brian McGee

Crafts Council of Ireland

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