When Amy Revier – a maker at the forefront of a new generation of designer-makers working in fine art, fashion, design and craft – tells me that she originally “eschewed making” as a career path, “because it wasn’t intelligent enough”, I am shocked. The intelligence, thought and meaning behind the process of making or designing are obvious. Even with training and enthusiam, few have the ability to effectively articulate their thoughts and vision into something intriguing and appreciable to others. As Ethel Mairet (1872 – 1952), the influential hand loom weaver and craft advocate noted, “most artist-craftsmen have served no real apprenticeship, but have come to the study of their craft by the study of art. We owe more to travel, museums, private study and technical books than to intimacy with past masters of our work.”
Indeed, an apprentice weaver of Amy Revier’s would surely learn, from just being in her studio, that before you find your method, technique or practice as a maker, you have to have both an intelligent understanding of the physical and a curiosity beyond a single product. In fact Amy’s previous reservations about making couldn’t be a starker reminder of the common and unfair assumption that the arts are intellectually lesser than other subjects. For Amy it evidently could have been – and perhaps would have preferentially been – through academia that she found she could explore her ideas.
Join Polly Leonard, Founder of Selvedge, in conversation with indigo designer and artist Katherine May, woodworker Max Bainbridge and quilt maker Abigail Booth of Forest + Found, as well as hand weaver Amy Revier. Polly will discuss how their work relates to the urban environment and why they find it important to work within the context of the city. Country in the City at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Book now. 20 September, 11am-12pm, Makers Day www.londondesignfestival.com This is an extract from Grace Warde-Aldam’s article in the Green issue of Selvedge. www.amyrevier.com