The Woman's Hour Craft Prize at Mottisfont

Where Holes Happen by Celia Pym for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Discover bold, beautiful and brilliantly diverse works by the 12 finalists of the £10,000 Woman’s Hour Craft Prize. From a bespoke bicycle to willow sculpture, this exhibition provides an important snapshot of how contemporary British craft practice reflects on, and engages with, the world today.

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize exhibition runs from 23 April – 24 June 2018, 11am-5pm. Normal property admission price only. For visitors unable to access the second floor gallery, we have digital versions of exhibitions on iPads which are available on lower levels.

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize celebrates the possibilities of using particular crafts and skills in different ways.

29 expert judges whittled down over 1500 applications to select the 12 finalists on show. Phoebe Cummings was selected as the winner, announced on 8 November 2017. Mottisfont is one of the first locations on a country-wide tour of these fascinating works. 

" The twelve Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalists embody the vibrancy, energy and ingenuity of contemporary craft. The expert jury’s already high expectations were surpassed by the astonishing quality of entries, making for some intriguing debates and challenging decisions."
- Annie Warburton, Creative Director, Crafts Council

Works on display include three pots by Alison Britton, whose 40 year career has consistently challenged traditional notions of ceramics; and an installation by Neil Brownsword on china flower-making, one of the few remaining methods of mass-production reliant on manual dexterity.

A dissolving fountain made from raw clay by Phoebe Cummings, inspired by a Meissen table fountain in the Museum, was chosen as the winning piece. Due to the temporary nature of the work, Mottisfont’s exhibition will include an element of the original piece and a short film of the work.

Caren Hartley and Lin Cheung both trained in silver-smithing and jewellery design, yet Hartley’s showcased work is a handmade bespoke bicycle and Cheung, known for her design of the 2012 Paralympic medals, exhibits her Delayed Reactions series of politically-inspired pin badges.

Delayed Reactions series by Lin Cheung
Delayed Reactions series by Lin Cheung for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize

Celia Pym’s beautifully darned textiles speak directly to human experience by bringing the value of mending into the spotlight. In a nod to her previous training as a nurse, Pym shows two darned sweaters, which once belonged to a GP and an intensive-care nurse.  

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize exhibition also highlights the endless possibilities of the interpretation and use of a particular material. Emma Woffenden showcases three new conceptual glass sculptures with mould-blown and free-blown elements, which reflect her observations of human behaviour.

Andrea Walsh uses glass to explore ideas of containment, and will be showcasing a series of boxes made from bone china and glass, inspired by a visit to Japan.

Romilly Saumarez Smith’s pieces transform the stories contained in discarded everyday objects. For this exhibition she incorporates finds including Tudor glass, old buttons and an Anglo-Saxon ring into 18th century inspired snuff boxes.

Boxes by Romilly Saumarez Smith
Boxes by Romilly Saumarez Smith for the Woman's Hour Craft Prize © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Laura Ellen Bacon, who works with willow and other natural materials, created a striking monumental sculpture.  

Some of the artists shortlisted for the Prize consider themselves loyal to no specific craft or label. Peter Marigold’s output ranges from furniture design to public art projects. His shortlisted pieces from the ‘Bleed’ series are based on his interest in movement and decay.

Laura Youngson Coll, who has trained in both sculpture and bookbinding, creates sculptures influenced by the marine environment, made from vellum. Her chosen pieces are inspired by the nineteenth century biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel.

About the Prize

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is a collaboration between the Crafts Council, the V&A and BBC Radio 4. The most comprehensive of its kind, the prize was established to find and celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft practitioner or designer-maker resident in the UK today. It rewards originality and excellence in concept, design and process, recognising makers who have demonstrably contributed to craft practice in the last five years. 

BBC Radio 4, Crafts Council and V&A logos