BBC Radio 4, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Crafts Council have announced the 12 makers in the running for the inaugural £10,000 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize, including Goldsmiths Fair exhibitor, Romilly Saumarez Smith.
Romilly’s work aims to transform the stories contained in discarded everyday objects, such as dress pins found in the mud of the Thames, into beguiling works of art. Unable to use her own hands, she works alongside jewellers Lucie Gledhill, Laura Ngyou and Anna Wales who translate her pieces. This year you can find Romilly exhibiting in week 2 of Goldsmiths’ Fair.
From huge handwoven willow structures, darned high street hoodies and bespoke bicycles, to unfired clay installations, futuristic glass figures, and jewellery made with 18th-century pins found in the mud of the river Thames, the finalists explore issues ranging from our consumer culture, to the decline of UK manufacturing, and geo-politics.
The 12 finalists are: Laura Ellen Bacon, Alison Britton, Neil Brownsword, Lin Cheung, Phoebe Cummings, Caren Hartley, Peter Marigold, Celia Pym, Romilly Saumarez Smith, Andrea Walsh, Emma Woffenden and Laura Youngson Coll. The finalists were selected over the course of eight selection panels by 29 expert judges.
The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize was launched in order to celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft makers in the UK, and coincides with the 70th anniversary of Woman’s Hour. The 12 finalists were selected from almost 1,500 applications, and their works will feature in a Woman’s Hour Craft Prize exhibition at the V&A from Thursday 7 September 2017 to Monday 5 February 2018, followed by a UK-wide tour. The winner will be selected by Rosy Greenlees (Executive Director, Crafts Council), Tristram Hunt (Director of the V&A), and Martha Kearney (BBC journalist and broadcaster), and announced in a live broadcasted ceremony from the V&A on Wednesday 8 November 2017.
Karen Dalziel, Editor of BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, said: “I’m delighted to be working with our partners the Crafts Council and the V&A on our new prize. The calibre of entries was really impressive so it was a challenging yet immensely enjoyable task to choose the 12 finalists. It’s an incredible achievement for them to be selected to exhibit at the V&A. Woman’s Hour listeners have shown a huge interest in the award and the range of crafts we’ve highlighted. I’m sure they will be excited to learn more about the exceptional and innovative pieces made by the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalists.”
Alun Graves, Senior Curator of Ceramics and Glass at the V&A, said: “The twelve finalists for the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize demonstrate the depth and breadth to be found in contemporary craft practice in the UK. A brilliant array of talent, they represent diverse approaches and work across a range of media, creating sculptural installations and performances to refined bespoke design. Challenging, thought-provoking, yet often exquisitely beautiful, their work is craft for our time, reflecting and engaging with the world today.”