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The craft&design Selected Awards 2012 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Anthony Dew
Anthony Dew
Wood & Metal Category

Anthony Dew
www.rockinghorse.co.uk

People comment that I must be so patient to be a wood-carver, but I’m not. I was drawn to make rocking horses because I couldn’t get bored with the infinite possibility of formal variation the subject offers. Or with practising the array of skills involved - woodturning, joinery, carving, metal components , as well as leather, hair, paints, stains, and so on. Designing and making rocking horses has preoccupied me and rewarded my efforts with a good living for three and a half decades. I’ve also made architectural woodwork and other toys: never idle. I’m fortunate, now the wonderful Jane runs the business leaving me free to make such absurdities as ‘Bigger Bertie’ the largest hand carved rocking horse in the world.

It’s a cop-out to say I don’t know what I’ll be looking for in a ‘Wood & Metal’ category winner, but I’ll know it when I see it. It’s bound to be a subjective judgement, but not narrow (I promise not to favour horses). Certainly it must have that quality which makes me stare with wonder, nudge my neighbour and say, ‘Just look at that!’ It must have depth: initial approval giving way to a more profound appreciation. And it must be beautifully executed.

Judge’s Statement

A carver of jewellery (reclaimed off-cuts, very eco), two furniture makers (geometric classic vs. organic contemporary), two blacksmiths (architectural vs. eclectic & modestly domestic), and a maker of folding pocket knives (‘functional jewellery’). How to pick winners from among these disparate excellent practitioners?

I study the images, noting my first impressions. All work showed (as expected) ingenuity and originality, fine execution and a clear concern for detail, form, setting (where appropriate) and function. The camera always lies (and distorts): I suspect most work (esp. Andrew Finlay’s large constructions) is much more impressive than the photographs admit.

After reading CVs, statements, and studying the images again, initial approval (‘Come and look at this!’) gave way to more profound appreciation, informed by the life/work experiences, struggles, motivations and ambitions that underpin each body of work. This confirmed the winner(s). Silver awards go to Andrew Findlay and his magnificent architectural metalwork, and Katie Lake, self-styled ‘Mistress Metal’.

The gold award winner has to be Cadman Furniture, a wife and husband (or vice versa) team (so you get two for one). Pushing the boundaries of absurdity but never ridiculous or affected; always beautifully put together. Their approach to craft, long-term development, and the thought that moulds every aspect of the work, shows that given continuing application and a little luck Cadman is on a sure-fire trajectory to greater success. Who could fail to embrace with pleasure those sinuous curves!

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