The culture of British design and making

Christopher Frayling (CF) pointed out that estimates suggest that by 2017, 50% of all new jobs will be in the creative sector, itself already employing more than double that of our financial services and with a similar economic value.

This is absolutely amazing of course, but opens up the way in which our creatives work with manufacturers, and how we facilitate that cross fertilsation. Ron Arad told us that he works almost exclusively with the Italian artisan culture claiming, contenciously, that this does not exist in Britain, with CF going further, saying that in China there are already 1200 art colleges, all closely linked to artisan manufacturing, while reminding us that historically these links in the U.K were frequently forged between the colleges and local industries such as ceramics, engineering and shoe making.

Sarah Teasley came in with creative ideas to promote those links, the value of which was made in an example presemted by Anthony Gormley, who explained how he and his team had, in the making of The Angel of The North, rediscovered the foundaries and skills base required to construct such a massive object. For someone like myself, born within the now shadow of The Angel, this fusion of contemporary art and the traditional skills of the North East  is extremely evocative and shows us that we can, almost literally, forge links between past and present, new designs and technologies old and very much new.

It was a little ironic that the work to be found on Makers' Eye already brings all of this together, so it is very encouraging that this is being talked about and acknowledged as one of British industries great strengths.

Tony Portus


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RoyalCollege of Art at 175 . ContentID=518939&GroupID=160110&CategoryID=36646

V&A Hollywood Costume co-curated by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling