Time to Celebrate

Adrian McCurdy – Cleft oak table

More than 70 small designer-maker workshops from across Britain will be exhibiting around 300 pieces of their newest work at the Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design in August, a contemporary designer-maker furniture exhibition in Cheltenham.

Furniture aficionados and those who appreciate fine craftsmanship in decorative arts will have their appetites amply served once again this August at the largest and most eclectic exhibition of contemporary, bespoke, designer-maker furniture in the UK.

The Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design Exhibition enables you to meet renowned craftsmen face to face and learn about the intricacies of their trade. The exceptional exhibition also includes selected works from leading artisans in disciplines such as sculpture, jewellery and silver that beautifully complement the furniture.

In this special 25th anniversary year, a new initiative will shine a light on the very best emerging designers as a number of furniture schools will be showcasing the work of their students, alongside a solid core of well-established and respected makers within the field. This combination of new and old is set to create an exciting and unique display.

Exhibition director Jason Heap has always been keen to offer opportunities to help the next generation to establish themselves and believes that: “The quality of training being offered today is exceptional and I am confident that visitors will be blown away by the standards at which these new designer-makers are already working.”

The exhibition boasts a fantastic array of unique, diverse pieces and, with styles ranging from simple and sleek to flourishing and fancy, there is plenty to suit all tastes.

This year sees the inclusion of work by established makers Marc Fish, Matthew Burt, and Waywood as well as the last pieces completed by the late David Savage.

Meanwhile, new exhibitors, such as Jonathan Vaiksaar, Richard Frost and Hyde and Gallagher, will certainly not disappoint.

Stewards and a selection of exhibitors will be on hand to advise visitors each day, discuss the work exhibited and possible commissions.

Several fantastic awards return again to help promote and support all areas of the bespoke furniture movement, from students and new makers to British timber and design excellence. There are some stunning entries as usual across the award categories, which includes:

The Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design New Talent Award – Sponsored by Design-Nation
The award aims to encourage and support the next generation of furniture designer-makers at the start of their careers. The experience for new craftsmen and women in exhibiting their work alongside established makers in their field is a vital part of the process in which they establish their fledgling reputations. Testament to this fact is the enthusiasm of Design-Nation, which has generously agreed to sponsor a New Talent Award offering full membership and inclusion within their own winter exhibition at the National Centre for Craft & Design for the winner.
Best Use of British Timber Award – Sponsored by Woodland Heritage
Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design is delighted to be working with Woodland Heritage to promote the best of British. The charity will be awarding £500 for the Best Use of British Timber at the exhibition, along with a highly commended prize of £250. The award will be judged by a panel during the show, with the criteria including design, species selection and use of timber, craftsmanship and provenance of the wood used. Points will be awarded to entrants who go out of their way to source timber locally and/or find out where their timber comes from.

The Future Icons Award at Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design
Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design is about more than just furniture and this award, sponsored by Future Icons, highlights the superb quality of our exhibitors from other disciplines such as lighting, ceramics, jewellery and art. These other disciplines form an important part of the exhibition each year, helping to give context to the furniture on display and bringing a little diversity to the exhibition as a whole.

The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers (WCFM) Design Prize
The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers has again offered a prize of £500 to the designer-maker who produces the most outstanding exhibit at the Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design exhibition this year. They will also highly commend two other exhibits. The company has awarded Guild Marks for many years for exceptional bespoke furniture made by this country’s superb designer/makers, so to make an award at their most important annual show is an excellent development from this.

Free Visitor Prize Draw
This year’s free prize draw offers every visitor the chance to win a voucher worth £500. Anyone who buys an entry ticket to the exhibition will be able to fill in their details on the reverse and drop it into a box on their way out to be in with a chance of winning. The voucher can be used as full or part payment to one or several of the exhibitors listed in this year’s catalogue, and is valid for one year from the end of this year’s exhibition.

The magnificent neoclassical exhibition venue of Thirlestaine Long Gallery is set in the elegant surroundings of Cheltenham Spa and the Cotswolds, making a visit to Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design, which takes place from 17th to 26th August, the perfect excuse for a few days away in this unique and picturesque area.


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