Arts & Crafts for today
One thing that I love about Cumbria is its heritage from the Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th century. There are beautiful houses, many of them designed and built as holiday homes for the richest of Manchester and Liverpool’s merchants and business leaders. The gardens are usually pretty stunning too, making the most of the vistas and views that come with our glorious landscape.
Fortunately, a lot of the traditions of craftsmanship and beauty combined with utility are as alive in the Lake District today as they were 150 years ago. In my role as a curator of the Cumbria Life Home & Garden Show at Rheged, I work with Maureen Whitemore to showcase the variety on offer. The quality never ceases to amaze me and I find it reassuring that modern Cumbrian designers and makers are creating unique pieces with a personality for homes and gardens today.
Not everyone has a Manchester merchant’s budget so it’s good to know that businesses such as Tree on the Hill are thriving in Cumbria. This team’s timber creations are stunning and always popular at the Rheged Show. Based in a workshop between Bassenthwaite and Bothel, Huw and Steven are definitely ones to watch in the years ahead.
Another furniture designer with a strong thread of Arts & Crafts commitment in his work is Daniel Lacey. His shelving, unusual seating and desks use the grain and shape of natural wood and really show it off. He’s based just north of the border in Langholm and will be taking part in the Spring Fling open studios event at the end of May – well worth a trip as a chance to discover lots of other amazing makers too!
I always look forward to seeing what the exhibitors at the Show display each year – and 2019 should be as fascinating as ever.
PS The Rusland Movement has supported the Show since it started but can’t make it for 2019. It’s a shame as so many local people still don’t realise that wonderful furniture is being designed and made on our doorstep. If you’ve never come across The Rusland Movement – they have a workshop in Greenodd and a showroom in Cartmel – then there’s an alternative way of finding out more this Spring as they’ve collaborated with Blackwell: The Arts & Crafts House on Windermere to create a stunning exhibition, A Design Lineage, that’s open until 9 June 2019.