Awards & Sponsorship

The craft&design Selected Awards 2016 - Specialist Judges

craft&design Selected Awards

Sarah James
Sarah James
Specialist Media Category

Sarah James
Director, Made by Hand Events Ltd

I have been organising award winning arts festivals for over 12 years. I am managing director of The Contemporary Craft Festival, Bovey Tracey, The Nourish Festival, Bovey Tracey and Made by Hand, Cardiff. I also founded and am the former director of the Devon Guild.

Born in Cardigan, West Wales, I am a ceramics graduate from Glasgow School of Art and an avid collector of craft, especially pottery. I've had a varied career including making, writing, curating, retailing and lecturing on business start-up. I've focused on event management and business development training since 2003 and was appointed Visiting Lecturer at South Wales University in 2015, specialising in Marketing for Creatives.

An obsessive user of social media for business and the ability to think on my feet whilst smiling is a fundamental part of my business strategy. I treat people how I would like to be treated and expect the same in return.

I live in Devon with my husband Andy and my two children Lewi and Ella, spending as much time in Wales as possible.

Judge’s Statement

Gold Award and Overall Winner
craft&design Selected Maker of the Year 2016: Jennifer Collier
Judge's statement:  
"I’ve been familiar with Jennifer Collier’s work for some time and have been fascinated to see it develop and grow over the years. Whilst originally studying in textiles at Manchester, she has pioneered the manipulation and construction of paper usually using vintage and found items. I am drawn to Jennifer’s work for a number of reasons. I’m intrigued by the evocative narrative nature of her work which is often made from old postcards, dress patterns and books. The snippets of text, trusty inks and familiar emblems stir fond memories, making the work hugely evocative. Her work is also incredibly beautiful.
Jennifer Collier’s construction, design and craft skills are phenomenal. The deft manipulation of such a delicate and unforgiving material is extraordinary and the objects she makes are witty, covetable and paradoxically robust. She has exhibited her work extensively throughout the UK and her work is sold all over the world. 
She is continually developing her practice, opening her group workshop and gallery space Unit 12 in the Staffordshire countryside. She is a prolific educator, working with schools, Universities and running and organising workshops for enthusiastic groups. She also established Cultivate, an Arts Council funded initiative to give support to emerging makers, providing workshop space and mentoring. She is continually developing the media profile of her business and understands the importance of a portfolio career whilst managing the fundamental importance of creatively developing her work whilst marketing her practice. I am delighted to award her Gold."
Sarah James, April 2016. 
Silver Award: Hannah Lobley
Judge's statement:
"I can remember seeing Hannah’s work for the first time when she applied and successfully got a place at The Contemporary Craft Festival. She was at the beginning of her career and it was clear that she had great ambitions and had developed an innovative approach to making. 
I really like the origins of her story. In 2002, accidentally leaving a copy of the Lord of Rings out in the rain resulted in bloated damaged pages. The metamorphosed book sparked an idea that has endured throughout her practice. She was initially working with wood but when the destroyed book became solid with layers of paper, she decided, after some manipulation of the material, to put it on the lathe. The resulting “Ring” made for the Tolkien novel was her first sale. Reclaiming old books and papers is at the heart of her practice. She has turned traditional notions of materials on their head and has had great success with international markets, especially in Japan. The Japanese are drawn to her creative use of paper and her ethos of using disposable objects, turning them into durable and evocative objects. 
Her first trip to Japan was in 2007, with a trade mission with UKTO, Design Factory & the Arts Council and she has been commissioned numerous times by large corporate clients and even the Ministry of Defence. I’m interested to see how she has developed her practice to be able to work on commissions for corporate clients which requires good organisational and diplomacy skills whilst allowing her to be more ambitious with scale and ideas."
Sarah James, April 2016
Silver Award: Mary Crabb
 Judge's statement:
"As a fan of woven willow baskets, I was drawn to the detail and ideas that Mary Crabb conveys in her work. It’s interesting to read that she was originally trained as a mathematician and how patterns, code and line have informed her work. Originally working in willow, her practice now encompasses wire, paper, textile and any flexible material from which she makes highly precise, non-functional objects. The attention to detail in these small pieces is exquisite.
In her latest project, her varied early career of heritage museum work has combined with her love of mathematics and baskets. I am intrigued by objects that have been imbued with narrative and meaning through personal history and Mary Crabb’s current work beautifully entwines these concepts. 
As many of her peers, she has developed a teaching practice and regularly teaches basket making at West Dean College."
Sarah James, April 2016.
Judge's general statement:
"I was delighted to be asked to be judge of the Specialist Media category in this year’s awards. It’s quite an unusual section and it was very interesting to look through the entries, I was very impressed by the range of work and the obvious skills of all the Finalists. I looked at each of the Finalists' practice, I’m always drawn to the creative story, how they got to where they are now and where they are going in the future. Making is not about straight lines and career paths but about passion, strength and talent combined and I hope that all the Finalists can take comfort that their efforts are being recognised. I wish all the Finalists the greatest success in the future."
Sarah James, 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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