Awards & Sponsorship

The craft&design Selected Awards 2016 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Polly Leonard
Polly Leonard
Textiles & Needlecrafts Category

Polly Leonard
Founder of Selvedge

I launched Selvedge in 2003 as I felt there was a need for a magazine that took a more critical approach to textile art.

When I started the magazine I had enough money to make one issue, which I sent out to as many people as possible as a way of securing subscribers and therefore funding the next one; you could say it was one of the first examples of crowd-funding.

Twelve years later and I'm proud to say that Selvedge is not only the world's leading textile magazine but has also revolutionised the way textiles are presented.

Since launching the magazine, I have also worked with my brilliant team to open an online and bricks and mortar shop, run fairs and workshops and set up all sorts of creative collaborations with organisations ranging from the V&A to The National Trust.

In terms of my own expertise, I have a specialist knowledge in all aspects of textiles, with particular interest in the role textiles has played in the evolution of humanity.My own practice encompasses using embroidery and basketry techniques to produce non- functional sculptural forms. I have also taught and lectured around the world from high school to adults. Selvedge combines my passions for social history, fine art and craft.

Judge’s Statement

Gold Award: Donna Cheshire
Judge's statement
"Donna Cheshire has had a long and diverse career encompassing teaching, exhibiting and community projects  - the most recent My Journey, a triptych commissioned by Heaton Baptist Church to connect the different groups using the space. Donna worked with members of the church to dye a palette of fabrics, which she then used to create the appliqued triptych for the community to enjoy. I am particularly drawn to Donna’s work because of the energy and enthusiasm she communicates. Strong draftsmanship and a command of the sewing machine allow Donna to draw with thread and fabric and create a personal universe. Her mastery of technique and confident use of colour allow her to slip effortlessly between two and three dimensions. Her work has a readily identifiable fingerprint, yet translates well into a wide range of community projects and workshops leading to a sound business model.  Donna uses her craft to connect people and places in a positive life affirming way."
Polly Leonard, April 2016.
Silver Award: Sally Harper-Kenn
Judge's statement:
"Sally Harper-Kenn is a milliner who has a clear connection with her audience. A published author with an established business platform and solid client base via her informative website. Her business acumen has won her many awards. I am particularly impressed by the strong links she has made with Ladies Day at race meetings around the country as well as with the wedding market - the perfect foils for her craft. The range of styles that she is able to offer at an appropriate price point also impresses me. She is the most commercially savvy of all the finalists; that is not to diminish her skill and competence with a variety of materials and forms. Sally clearly loves what she does and is enjoying the fruits of her labours."
Polly Leonard, April 2016.
Silver Award: Fleur Andreas
Judge's statement:
"Fleur Andreas hand weaves shawls, scarves and wall hangings. She has a connection with natural fibres, preferring to work with silk, merino, cotton and bamboo, which she dyes herself in a variety of subtle hues inspired by the unspoilt landscape. Fleur came to weaving later in life and perfected her craft at the University College for the Creative Arts, Farnham, one of the best weaving departments in the country. What impresses me most about Fleur is the virtuoso skill she uses with complex weave structures, which allow her colours to dance across the surface of the cloth."
Polly Leonard, April 2016
Judge's statement: 
"All six of this year’s Finalists demonstrate commitment and passion for their chosen discipline. It is always difficult to differentiate amongst such a deserving group. All of the Finalists deserve to be congratulated for the tenacity necessary to develop the level of craftsmanship on display. 
Louise West is a lace maker who has taught and exhibited widely. She enjoys research and is currently working on a book on Bedfordshire lace. Louise is passionate about lace; she has extensive knowledge of historic practice and has worked hard to interpret her skills into a contemporary context. This she has achieved most successfully when working in collaboration with Caruso St John Architects. Here she sourced an 1847 fragment of lace that was used as the basis for a design that was cast into 93 concrete panels for the façade of the Nottingham Contemporary Art Centre. The design connects the space to the rich history of Nottingham’s Lace Markets. More recently Louise has been collaborating with the National Trust on a restoration project. 
Moy Mackay is a painter with fleece. Her free interpretation of native borders landscape brings new energy to the age-old technique of felt making. Moy is a published author; she has exhibited and taught her craft worldwide. Her work has a painterly textural surface that makes good use of the innate qualities of merino fibre.
Sarah Waters makes good use of the three-dimensional qualities of felt. I am particularly drawn to her hats and boots. Sarah lives in the New Forest, and this proximity to the natural world has given her heightened concern for environmental issues, which she communicates in her work. She is a diverse maker and comfortably turns her hand to a variety of creative pursuits including teaching and community projects."
Polly Leonard, April 2016.

2016 Judges »


Congratulations to all our 2016 Selected Maker Award Winners, and especially to Jennifer Collier our craft&design Selected Maker of the Year 2016! Read about them all in our Sept/Oct magazine, on sale 25 August

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