Brooks collaborator Ben Wilson was recently invited by the Crafts Council and the Victoria and Albert Museum to furnish them with a piece for their upcoming exhibition “The Power Of Making” which runs 6 September 2011 – 2 January 2012 at The Porter Gallery at the V&A.
The exhibition opened last week, and Ben’s “Pocket Rocket” (shown above) is now on display, along with ninety-nine other “exquisitely crafted objects”. (Well, a hundred if we were to count the one-off Brooks Swallow separately.)
The show runs until January next year and comes at an interesting time. How many people can nowadays honestly claim proficiency in any field of professional (or amateur) endeavour which call for the skilled marrying of two or more separate objects?
Fewer than at the turn of the century, for sure.
And even allowing for increased population, probably far fewer than would have claimed so twenty years ago. And very probably only a fraction of those who could have said so in the 1920′s, for example.
“The Power of Making”, curated by Daniel Charny, explores this depressing statistic, but in an uplifting way, highlighting as it does some of the best in Contemporary Handwork.
It can often take a little time to fully grasp all that goes in to producing an excellent object, whether it be at hobby- or production level. Reliable machinery, sharp eyes, the best materials, and a wealth of experience are just a few factors.
Of course, at the Smethwick Works huge emphasis is unspokenly placed on these, and on all the other elements that cross paths to become the Leather Cycling Saddle Incarnate. It partially explains why Brooks saddles are revered not only by cyclists, but by artists, and also by those who simply appreciate well designed, excellently produced objects.
And let’s not forget that a single individual can frequently be all three!
There are plenty of other good examples of craftsmanship to be meditated upon and appreciated at The Power of Making. Most of the pieces, even those that fall squarely under the heading of “Art” unambiguously bear testimony to the virtue of taking one’s time, and doing it right.
The Power of Making.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Runs until January 2nd 2012.
Admission is free.