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Posted 06.06.17

Contemporary Craft Festival 2017: Five designer-makers to see

By Kat Peberdy

The Contemporary Craft Festival at Bovey Tracey is an award-winning event featuring established and emerging designer-makers, including a number of current BA (Hons) Textiles and crafts students, and offering hands-on workshops in a diverse range of crafts.

The festival, which we are sponsors for, runs from 9-11 June in Bovey Tracey, Devon and is one of the largest and most prestigious craft events in the UK, attracting crowds of up to 10,000 visitors.

Laura Wasley, Head of Development and Enterprise here at the college, picks her top five artists to watch at this year's festival.


Fern Robinson

BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts graduate Fern Robinson, who won the Victoria Sewart One to Watch award and was awarded the Bovey Tracey Award by Sarah James of The Contemporary Craft Festival, has been spotlighted by the Confessions of a Design Geek blog and worked as part of the college’s first partnership collaboration with Princess Yachts, creating a piece of collaborative work that was unveiled at the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Her vibrant ‘PLAY’ collection encourages tactile engagement and creates a stronger connection between user and object through interaction.

'PLAY' from Fern Robinson

Stacey West

Award-winning graduate Stacey West will be presenting her signature handcrafted jewellery, inspired by the rugged Cornish coastline. Stacey’s experimental designs illustrate her passion for raw materials and the inspiration she draws from organic shapes, forms and textures.

Her latest collection ‘Interlocking Strata’ uses textured elements that resemble the natural stratified lines and colours found in the geology of the North Cornwall coastline and celebrates the contrasts between texture and line, organic and geometric and translucent and opaque.

'Interchangeable' collection from Stacey West

Tracey Falvey

Jewellery graduate Tracey’s vibrant, sculptural and recycled silver jewellery is making a return to the festival this year. Using sculpture and architecture as aesthetic inspiration, she creates over-sized chunky pieces, with colours ranging from vibrant contrasting brights and fluorescents to pale smudgy pastels. Working mainly in recycled and reclaimed silver, Tracey individually shapes each piece with overlapping edges and visible seams, giving the work a unique geometric quality.

Tracey Falvey's exhibits at Radius:50mi

Dan Chapple

Plymouth College of Art Technical Demonstrator Dan Chapple specialises in hand-thrown Raku ceramics and his beautiful, sculptural wheel-formed pieces are a must-see at the festival. With a strong interest in the surface qualities that can be achieved by the Raku process, Dan’s work demonstrates the endless possibilities of the medium.

Dan draws his inspiration from classic Grecian forms, as well as oriental pottery traditions. Contrasting light and dark, with shiny, satin and matt, layering on slips and glazes to achieve varying degrees of crackle finish.

Raku ceramic piece from Dan Chapple

Laura Lane

Short Course ceramics tutor Laura Lane won the Tony Piper Memorial Award for Craft Excellence at The Contemporary Craft Festival last year and her work is stocked at several galleries including White Doll Arts in Fowey, Avalon in Marazion and Jane Adams Gallery in St Just. Her work is inspired by tall tales and Cornish folklore, with each design having its own story to tell. The materials she uses are as local as the stories they tell, coming from Doble Newdowns Sand and Clay Pits in St Agnes.

Collection from Laura Lane

In addition to the exhibitions and workshops, the event will also feature daily challenges set by the stars of BBC’s Great Pottery Throwdown, with materials provided by Degree Shows Award sponsor Potclays.

Meet all of our favourites at The Contemporary Craft Festival, June 9-11, Bovey Tracey, Devon. 

Tickets for the festival are on sale now.

Can’t make it to the festival? Meet the designer-makers of the future at our Graduate Shows from 10-22 June 2017.