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The craft&design Selected Awards 2011 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards
 

Miriam Rose
Miriam Rose
Specialist Media Category

Miriam Rose
www.romorexhibitions.co.uk

I originally qualified as a textiles teacher and worked as an examiner of practical coursework for many years, gaining considerable experience in assessing such work. As a director of Romor Exhibitions Ltd I have 30 years experience in organising craft and design events where every potential exhibitor has his/her work viewed by our selection panel, which I chair. Whilst encouraging new, contemporary designers to exhibit, I firmly believe that it is important for visitors to understand where our wonderful heritage of craft skills originates and so, at The Wrest Park Craft & Design Festival, we also present demonstrations of very traditional skills. I have therefore gained depth and breadth of knowledge of a very wide range of craftsmanship in every media. I even come from a long line of Devonshire Blacksmiths! I will be looking for someone who has learned appropriate skills, honed them to a high level of expertise and then added his or her own interpretation, individual skill development and design talents to create uniquely different pieces.

Judge’s Statement

When accepting the role of Specialist Media category judge for these awards I did not expect my task to be an easy one! Having been immersed in the craft designer-maker industry for over 30 years I know there is a huge number of highly skilled, creative and talented people working in the UK today and expected to be presented with some of the best work to be seen anywhere.
However the making of my decisions has challenged me beyond anything I anticipated. I have repeatedly had to return to the criteria I laid down and re-examine all the finalists and their work in the light of these.
All the finalists show exceptional skill and creativity but for me the work of Simon Keeley takes my breath away. He is not just an immensely skilled stone carver, he has exceptional draftsmanship and the ability to adapt his skills to traditional and contemporary styles of work. Perhaps for me though, it is his desire to not just demonstrate his skills and have his work on view for all to see, but to pass on his skills through teaching at workshops and on courses that stands him out above the other finalists. All craft skills used today are based on those used for centuries by generations of master craftsmen and the passing on of these skills to future generations is vital to the survival of the skills and to enable our children and grandchildren to experience the joy that owning and maybe creating - a skillfully made, beautiful piece of handcrafted work brings to our everyday lives.
The fact that the two silver award winners both principally work in the same medium of leather is purely co-incidental! The vast difference in the style and type of items they each produce demonstrates the different ways they have developed their skills. One concentrates on keeping the traditional methods alive although I do look forward to seeing the results of their exploration into contemporary designs whilst the other has discovered and developed her own methods to create highly individual wearable art.

 
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