Jennifer Lee wins Loewe Craft Prize 2018

As part of the London Craft Week, the Loewe Craft Prize 2018 is being presented at the Design Museum, London.

Jennifer Lee, Loewe Craft Prize

Briton Jennifer Lee won the Loewe Craft Prize 2018 with this pottery. Pale, Shadowed Speckled Traces, Fading Elipse, Bronze Specks, Tilted Shelf 2017. Stoneware, natural oxides, 17,4 × 16 × 31 cm. All Photos Loewe

The Loewe Craft Prize 2018, endowed with 50,000 euros, was won by the British ceramist Jennifer Lee. The jury commended the work for its classicism, the means by which it rooted the entire exhibition, and its timelessness. The Jury also agreed upon giving two special mentions. One has been given to French textile artist, Simone Pheulpin, for her work Croissance XL, 2017. The jury commented: “Simone Pheulpin is redefining what we think of as textiles. She has elevated humble recycled materials into something truly remarkable.” Another special mention was given to Japanese potter Takuro Kuwata for his work Tea Bowl, 2017. The jury admired the energy and self-expression of his work, saying: “He transgresses the typical tradition of ceramics while pointing a new way forward.”

Simone Pheulpin, Loewe Craft Prize

Simone Pheulpin, France, received a special mention for, Croissance XL, 2017. Cotton fabric and pins, 90 × 90 × 10 cm

Takuro Kuwata, Loewe Craft Prize

Takuro Kuwata, Tea Bowl, 2017. Porcelain, glaze, pigment, platinum and steel, 38 × 38 × 40 cm

The exhibition is comprising 30 works shortlisted for the 2018 edition of the Loewe Craft Prize. On display from 4 May to 17 June 2018, it will feature works by finalists from across the globe, with 18 different countries represented. Spanning ceramics, jewellery, textiles, woodwork, glass, metalwork, furniture, papercraft and lacquer, the finalists’ entries function as a multigenerational snapshot of the utmost excellence in craft today. Their legacy in contributing to the development of contemporary craft will be documented in a specially produced catalogue to accompany the exhibition, fully illustrating each of the finalists’ pieces.

Importance of craftsmanship in today’s culture

Here the complete list of artists selected for the shortlist, sorted by countries:
Great Britain (6): Paul Adie (jewelry), Jennifer Lee (ceramics), Richard McVetis (textile, mixed media), Aneta Regel (ceramics, stone), Wycliffe Stutchbury (wood, furniture), Takeshi Yasuda (ceramics)
Japan (4): ARKO (straw), Takuro Kuwata (ceramics, metal), Ryuhei Sako (metal), Shohei Yokoyama (glass)
South Korea (3): Yeonsoon Chang (textile), Hae Cho Chung (lacquer vessels), Joonyong Kim (glass)
USA (2): Christopher Kurtz (wood, sculpture), Julian Watts (furniture, sculpture)
Ireland (2): Deirdre McLoughlin (ceramics), Joe Hogan (wood, wickerwork)
Belgium: Ann Van Hoey (ceramics)
Chile: Rita Soto (jewelry)
China: Min Chen (furniture, bamboo)
Denmark: Steffen Dam (glass, mixed media)
Germany: Sam Tho Duong (jewelry)
France: Simone Pheulpin (textile, sculpture)
Italy: Laurenz Stockner (metal, vessel)
Austria: Marie Janssen (furnace construction, ceramics)
Poland: Sara Gackowska (stone, mixed media)
Russia: Irina Razumovskaya (ceramics)
Sweden: Gunilla Maria Åkesson (ceramics)
Singapore: Ashley YK Yeo (paper, sculpture)
Spain: Mercedes Vicente (textile, sculpture)

The annual prize was launched by the Loewe Foundation in 2016 to showcase and celebrate excellence, artistic merit and newness in modern craftsmanship. This year, 30 finalists were chosen by a panel of experts from close to 1,900 submissions. The award, which was conceived by Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson, aims to acknowledge the impor tance of craft in today’s culture and recognise working artisans whose talent, vision and will to innovate will set a standard for the future. The incentive for the prize goes back to Loewe’s beginnings as a collective craft workshop in 1846. Jonathan Anderson says: “Craft is the essence of Loewe. As a house, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant.”

The New Ethic of Craft

Regarding the finalists selection process, done by a panel of 11 experts, Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, the Executive Secretary of the Loewe Craft Prize Experts Panel, stated: “This year the judging was harder than prior years, with the standard of applicants impressively high across every category. Our chosen works reflect an almost alchemical manipulation of each medium’s possibilities and reward those who have mastered traditional skills in order to transform them for the contemporary age.”

On 11 May 2018, Jonathan Anderson and Deyan Sudjic will discuss “The New Ethics of Craft” at the Design Museum as part of “Craft Conversations”, a series of talks organised by Loewe Foundation for London Craft Week. Spotlighting various projects in this year’s Loewe Craft Prize, the pair will explore how today’s changing world is impacting craft production and making. The exhibition is accompanied by a specially produced catalogue illustrating each of the shortlisted finalists works.

Comment

The Loewe Craft Prize, this can already be said at the 2nd edition, is outstanding worldwide.This applies to his conception, the quality of the jury and the experts panel as well as the amount of the prize money. For contemporary crafts, this prize is an exceptional stroke of luck. The event encompasses all areas of contemporary craftsmanship and has worldwide appeal through the potential of the Loewe Foundation. The members of the distinguished jury come from different areas of design and bring with them very different national perspectives and professional competencies. In the jury and the panel of experts, renowned architects, product designers and museum curators meet with prominent representatives of the arts and crafts. This ensures that the 30 finalists are among the best that today’s crafts have to offer on the cutting edge of art and design. Through the Loewe Foundation, the discourse about the quality and importance of artistic crafts in our time receives new stimulating food. Reinhold Ludwig

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