Artweeks Director chooses new piece for Oxfordshire Collection of Contemporary Craft

Submitted by Esther Lafferty on Mon, 21/11/2011 - 10:19am
Salted Fish in Barcelona Market by Diana Tonnison

On 19th November Esther Browning, Executive Director of Oxfordshire Artweeks was delighted to judge the 2011 Oxfordshire Craft Guild (OCG) Fletcher Prize with Cherry Gray, Curator of the Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock, announcing the winner alongside Ed Vaizey, Conservative Member of Parliament for Wantage & Didcot and a Minister in the Coalition Government with responsibilities for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries.
With their focus on the finest design and craftsmanship, through a selection process, the Oxfordshire Craft Guild complements perfectly the inclusivity of Artweeks providing a quality stamp on many of Artweeks’ May venues and makers. In this exhibition, open until 3rd January, there is a wonderful variety of work and talent on show with fun pieces such as Lis Lawrence’s felt Hungry Caterpillars and bird brooches by Lizzy Hurst alongside pieces of outstanding design and quality or one reason or another. These include an ivory bag by Victoria Borondo with exquisite detailing, a range of glass of fresh beauty and delicacy work from Wendy Newhofer, and Alexander Griffin’s Maple Mirror with Walnut Inlay, a unique piece with its apparent simplicity belying the complexity of curves, and the inlaid walnut mirroring the gentle bevelled edges of the wood around the glass.
Esther and Cherry chose, however, to award the Fletcher prize for 2011 to something that was innovative, perhaps beyond the normal expectations of a craft exhibition, a sculptural ceramic piece to which they kept finding themselves drawn back, “Salted fish from Barcelona Market” by Diana Tonnison, which was both captivating and surprisingly different to many of the more functional pieces in the exhibition.
Esther said, “While simple at first glance, we loved the way the textures of the old broken wooden barrel had been recreated, with rusty edging and the tatty price tag and we thought it truly evoked the earthy life and bustle of a Spanish fish market. The sun-dried fish struck us as more representational, fluid shapes with rich green and blue hues providing a great contrast to the rich brown of the rustic basket. And in this time of economic hardship, for us, it seemed to reflect an ability to step away from the aspiration of an ‘ideal home’ and to celebrate the traditional in a fresh new way.”
Salted Fish in Barcelona Market will, in the New Year, be added to the Oxfordshire Collection of Contemporary Craft housed at the Abingdon Museum and we hope people will enjoy looking at this 2011 addition.