On April 2nd 1965, a small advertisement appeared in the St. Ives Times & Echo announcing the opening of the New Craftsman the following day, at 24 Fore Street, St Ives. A list of major craft artists and European design companies is named in the advertisement, with a focus on craft work of quality and reputation, including studio ceramics by Bernard Leach, Janet Leach, Hans Coper, Lucie Rie and Colin Pearson, interspersed with designers such as Terence Conran and work from well-known Scandinavian and European design houses. Today, the gallery continues its historic legacy of exhibiting the very best in contemporary craft and painting, by established and emerging artist in St Ives, the wider UK and Europe. It remains an important venue for the exhibition of 20th century and contemporary art and craft.
This exhibition, in partnership with “The New Craftsman, St Ives: The Craft of Selling” exhibition currently on show at The Crafts Study Centre, Farnham, celebrates the forthcoming publication of Professor Simon Olding’s essay on the history of the New Craftsman and its influence on the story of contemporary craft.
Simon’s essay traces the history of the gallery, from its roots in The Craftsmen’s Shop, which was opened by Janet Leach in 1952, to its current form as the New Craftsman Gallery, and considers this history in the context of craft selling in St Ives and further afield. The Crafts Study Centre holds the archive of the New Craftsman and Janet Leach’s personal papers, as well as founding collections by many of the makers whose ceramics were sold through the New Craftsman. These archive documents and works of art are on show in Farnham until 16 December, while in St Ives we present a special parallel exhibition by some artists associated with the 60 year history of New Craftsman, from Dame Lucie Rie, Bernard Leach, Peter Lanyon, and Breon O’Casey, to contemporary artists such as woodturner and sculptor Anthony Bryant, painter Sarah Woods and more.
Simon's book will be published on the 28th of October 2023