Issue 14: Material

Introducing the Material Issue: celebrating the stuff of life…

‘The history of the world is one of taking things to the edge of what’s possible. That’s what craftspeople have always done.’ So says John Makepeace, the legendary furniture maker and founder of Parnham College, in Issue 14. Taking the great man’s words as our cue, this issue we explore those who specialise in pushing materials to their limit – both physically and theoretically.

These include industrial designer Bodo Sperlein, blacksmith Alex Pole, Peter Layton, founder of London Glassworks, quilt expert Jessica Ogden, jeweller turned product designer Lara Bohinc and Christopher Sharp, co-founder of The Rug Company. Elsewhere, we speak to inspiring figures for whom substance comes before style; for whom materiality informs their work. People such as esteemed gallerist Sarah Myerscough who, in her own words, set out ‘to demonstrate that collecting wood was as relevant as collecting ceramics or glass’; or Studio Toogood, who produce anything from fashion to furniture in their collaborative projects; or 1882 Ltd’s Emily Johnson, who is dedicated to giving the traditional ceramics industry a much needed contemporary relevance.

Talking of which, we speak to some of the leading lights spearheading the British manufacturing revival – garment and accessories brands including Sunspel, William & Sons, Fox Brothers, Ettinger and Community Clothing, visiting their factories to discover the lessons they can teach to the industry as a whole.

Looking at the other side of the fashion business, we visit catwalk illustrator Richard Haines, who has made an art out of keeping a very different craft alive. And that’s not forgetting the other free spirits in the material world we meet in this issue – from concrete restorer Catrin James the Atlantic to the artisans of Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market, highlighting the increasing importance of craftsmanship in the US. Meanwhile, last but never least, rock photographer Geoff MacCormack tells how his childhood friend David Bowie left him a special parting gift – adding material value to cherished memories.

Enjoy the issue: it’s made of quality stuff…