HTSI editor Jo Ellison
HTSI editor Jo Ellison © Marili Andre

Craft is one of those words that gets much bandied about, covering everything from children’s activity tables to the most exalted expressions of artistic excellence. When I was younger, it had very specific connotations: it was associated with rudimentary folk traditions, often done by women, and didn’t garner the same respect as the work of artists in more conventional fields. In the past few decades, however, those prejudices have been slowly eroded: everything is craft-y now. The change has come in no small part thanks to people such as Jonathan Anderson, the creative director at Loewe, who has been instrumental in elevating craft and its makers (to wit, see Loewe’s Crafted World, his exhibition currently on display in Shanghai until 5 May).

Cameron Short and Janet Tristram with two of their daughters, Nell and Zola
Cameron Short and Janet Tristram with two of their daughters, Nell and Zola © Julian Broad

As the lines between art and craft have become more liminal, so too a new generation has arisen that appears to walk a blurred creative line. Are they craftspeople, makers, artists – or a different creative hybrid? Our spring design issue is dedicated to just some of the proponents of this “future craft”. Artist-designer Jeremy Anderson invites us into the Red Hook workshop where he creates a “fantasy” of stoneware vessels and 22-carat-gold lustre lamps; Cameron Short and Janet Tristram take us to Dorset and their home workshop where they are evolving the ancient art of block-printing; and in Japan, we meet Wataru Hatano, a paper craftsman reinventing washi for the 21st century. Each is using skill sets passed down through generations, and preserving them for those to come. The works, meanwhile, are still defiantly modern: proof that great design is an eternal thing.

Wes Anderson on the set of Asteroid City
Wes Anderson on the set of Asteroid City © Valérie Sadoun

We also speak to Wes Anderson, whose visual language has become a shorthand for all things handmade, considered and symmetrical. Valérie Sadoun, a photographer who has worked on set with the filmmaker for the past eight years, has captured the dedication that goes into each production in a portfolio of images, while Jackie Daly talks to the sign painters, puppeteers and set builders who help create Anderson’s exquisite aesthetic universe.

Stanley Tucci with one of his new Greenpan cooking dishes
Stanley Tucci with one of his new Greenpan cooking dishes © Greenpan

Not all craft objects must be a thing of beauty (although the two do seem quite symbiotic). The best design should simply work. Actor and food presenter Stanley Tucci has lately launched a range of cookware, which has allowed us to indulge a favourite topic: what makes a great frying pan? My own favourite is an old one once owned by my grandmother – cast iron, with a wooden handle that feels marvellously familiar in my palm. Its colourful enamel is now almost impossible to decipher, it’s so obscured by the patina of use – and, let’s be honest, kitchen grime. But it gives me tremendous pleasure to know that the same pan that now fries my eggs was once prodded by her own hand. 


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