Having a peer group.July 18, 2014 by Elisabeth Rutt
I am a member of the Suffolk Craft Society, a group which brings a wonderful fusion of makers and craft disciplines together. The society supports makers and promotes excellence in craft to a wide audience through its permanent Gallery in Ipswich, exhibitions and events.
I have been a member for 15 years and in that time have learnt much from other makers. What is interesting is that whatever the craft discipline the makers have so many things in common. We all angst over the aesthetics of what we are making, the quality, the design but also the nitty gritty of running a creative business which really boils down to ourselves. Some makers have a large workshop and employ technicians and apprentices, the furniture makers in particular but so many of us are solitary in our own creative space.
I love this quiet, working things out myself in my own space but am all too aware that I could become a recluse, which is where a peer group of artist/makers is so valuable. There are not too many occasions when we get together in the same room but despite that, the planning of exhibitions and the necessary communication and organisation that goes on between us all is invaluable. Not just for the society and the event but for the individual too. When we do get together at an exhibition opening or other event it is great to put a face to the work, which I am usually more familiar with than the maker, and then exchange ideas and news.
Good design crosses all disciplines and I find that being a member of a multi disciplined group gives me a benchmark of quality and professionalism to aim for with my work and hopefully the bar is raised for everyone. It is also a platform to analyse what others are doing and so question my own work. My critical eye as I work with textiles and stitch is so much more honed by looking at other members work and learning from their chosen craft discipline.
The Suffolk Craft Society’s Summer exhibition and shop for smaller purchases, opens on July 13th and continues until August 25th at the Peter Pears Gallery in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk Coast.
For more about the Suffolk Craft Society, it’s members and events please do
have a look at www.suffolkcraftsociety.com