Hauser & Wirth host rural British craft in a new show at Make Gallery
The gap between art and craft is closing – and in the town of Bruton in Somerset, it’s about half a mile long. That’s the distance between Hauser & Wirth’s art space which opened in 2014, and its crafty sister, Make, which opened on the high street in September.
‘The intention was always to open a space dedicated to makers,’ says Make director Jacqueline Moore. ‘It fits with the gallery’s programme here and its focus on environment, architecture and the community as well as art.’ For its second show, ‘Levelling Traditions’, the space features nine makers who use materiality to interpret rural rituals and ways of life. ‘Many of them have a connection to Somerset but are not necessarily working in a traditional way,’ says Moore.
The exhibition includes ‘The Rising’, a wallhanging with soy, tannic acid and alizarin on cotton calico by Abigail Booth, plus other works. Photography: Thom Atkinson
Cameron Short and Janet Tristram, founders of Dorset-based Bonfield Block-Printers, apply their hand-carved block-printed images to fabrics, clothes and furnishings. Their Song Coats, inspired by men’s frock coats of the early 20th-century and the ancient folk songs of Somerset, are for the opening accompanied by a folk singer. She is inspired by the coats’ calico linings, which are block-printed with the strange images inspired by the folk melodies. Annemarie O’Sullivan grows around 20 types of willow on her land in Sussex and weaves agricultural baskets, and shows her collection of traps, lobster pots and fishing baskets. From his studio in the woods near Bruton, Mark Reddy carves vessels and spoons from foraged beech, oak, maple and walnut.
Tenanted oak vessels by Max Bainbridge on show as part of Levelling Traditions. Photography: Thom Atkinson
‘Crafts in Somerset are flourishing’, says Moore, who cites historical traditions such as lace making in Honiton, weaving near Bruton and the ceramics of St Ives. Make’s spring show is dedicated specifically to southwest makers.
In the centre of the gallery is a glass cabinet in which the exhibitors display the tools of their trade. Such is the mindset of the collectors who drop in to Make on their Bruton art tour, that Moore has had to resist countless offers to buy the lot, vitrine and all. §