We are stunned and delighted to share that we’ve been awarded the Grand Prize of the International KOGEI Award in Toyama, Japan. KOGEI awards artisan crafts that inextricably connect both tradition and innovation – and it turns out our SiO2 Twisted Vessel embodies just that!
“The award aims to draw the future vision of crafts by reconsidering the stereotypical concept of traditional crafts once from an unbiased perspective, capturing the global trends in crafts that are becoming more and more borderless and cross-fields.”
The Kingsland Dining Table was designed and made during the first Covid-19 lockdown initially for Gareth’s own family. During an intense period of isolation, this unique piece of furniture is a very personal project for Gareth. Pared back to the very minimum, the table celebrates simplicity and purity of form. The design is honest, allowing the craftsmanship to shine through in the highly executed joint details. An elegant ten-seater, made with family activity and communal dining in mind. This exclusive piece would match well with our other designs such as the Brodgar dining and occasional chairs.
The Flat Fish is the fourth and latest edition in the Si02 series. Gareth employs a new technique of 3D printing and continues to stretch the limits of printing in raw sand.
The vessel captures an act of digital manipulation in physical space. The perplexing form unites a plethora of vessels within one singular object. It appears to warp and stretch before your eyes, the waved grooves twisting and bending like lines in the sand.
On October 8th Gareth was invited to take part in the symposium ‘Blame the Tools: Crafty Robots, Well-behaved Implements and Disobedient Devices’ run by the Research department at Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon College of Arts. The symposium brought together a breadth of practitioners and academics from across disciplines to share their understanding of the tool from multiple viewpoints. Gareth’s talk explored the arguments for and against machine-based design practice.
After months of lockdown with art galleries being forced to close their doors, we wondered when we would be able to show our work again in the flesh. We are very grateful that the team at the Royal Academy stood strong and persisted with putting on their annual Summer Exhibition, despite having to postpone it for 4 months through extremely uncertain times. Our largest Twisted Vessel is standing proud alongside a huge variety of artworks and will be on show until the 3rd January 2021.
The Stitched Sideboard is a collaboration between embroidery and braiding specialist Aimee Betts and furniture designer-maker Gareth Neal. Commissioned by The New Craftsmen and exclusively handmade by luxury cabinet makers, Lydiates in Herefordshire. The cabinet embodies craftsmanship and the sensitive approach to collaboration between two highly skilled craftspeople.
The Stitched Sideboard is a four-door sideboard made with hand-braided front and side panels using a combination of tonal coloured cords. The finely spaced stitchwork holds the individually milled slats in position and allows for the structure of the woodwork to deliberately be seen, both internally and externally whilst the considered cabinetry in solid Ash provides the perfect framework for the intricate needlework. The sideboard has two internal shelves that reference traditional haberdashery display cabinets and the doors are finished with luxury brass hardware and hand-milled brass handles.
The stitching, reminiscent of rows of wishbones, has been meticulously hand-braided by Aimee, using a combination of leather, hemp and waxed cotton cords, to a distinctive Ash panel frame. The doors and side panels are specifically designed to incorporate Aimee’s stitching techniques – each of the dowels and batons are cut to size by hand and held in place by the cords.
We are delighted to finally be able to share the acquisition of our Brodgar Occasional Chair by the V&A. The collaborative piece, made together with Kevin Gauld, is now on permanent display in the Furniture Gallery alongside two beautifully crafted traditional Orkney chairs that have been housed in the V&A for sometime. We are honoured and couldn’t be prouder that our contemporary version will join them on show for years to come.
Antwerp based design duo, Studio Unfold, has for many years been questioning the role of crafts in contemporary society. Partnering with Amsterdam based designer and filmmaker, Alexandre Humbert, they set out to discovered what can be learnt from Croatia’s last living combmaker. As part of the project the team came to London to question Gareth on his views on the preservation of craft and its relationship to new technologies.
The film and accompanying interviews with specialists, including Gareth and Tanya Harrod, is on show at The Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb. Click here to watch the trailer.
Whether to swipe, scroll or type, the way we use our hands is evolving. Yet the desire to keep restless fingers busy is nothing new. From using tools, to communication, comfort and care, our hands allow us to make connections and manipulate the world around us.
On Friday 31st January Gareth will be hosting a talk at the V&A Friday Late: In The Palm of Your Hand, debating the question “Does the use of the hand define craft?”.
As we were hanging up our Christmas lights and getting into the festive mood Malaika Byng popped into our studio to delve into the changing perceptions around craft and digital manufacturing today. The article in CRAFTS magazine discusses whether craft itself is defined by the handmaking process, or whether in today’s rapidly changing digital era, craft can mean something more? The issue is for sale via the Crafts Council website here.