Craft is changing. Craft is luxury. Apparently, the new word is now artisan which, according to the fashionable superbrands is the last word for luxury. Artisanal has replaced couture, for hand-made-to-order design.
Well, Ochre has quietly been handmaking in an artisanal way for years. It’s just that the fashion brands have cottoned on to the fact that artisan doesn’t always mean rough and ready but instead is all about the beauty of understated luxury, the hallmark of Ochre.
To this cult brand craft simply means handmade with integrity. Their clients are interested in the backstory and how each design is made. Take the Seed Cloud as an example of matchless craftsmanship in a London foundry. The Lost Wax process used to cast the hundreds of bronze stems which make up the Seed Cloud is a technique that dates back 5000 years. In a nutshell the journey of the cast-bronze buds involves the making of the silicon moulds, the pouring of the molten wax, the opening of the silicon moulds, the plaster moulds, the kiln, the bronze put to melt in the crucible, poured, and then finally the plaster mould hammered open to release the cast bronze stem. Only then can the soldering, finishing and assembling begin.
But the point is that Ochre designers invest time working alongside specialist craftsmen, exploring materials and traditional techniques in order to create beautiful, highly crafted and highly valued pieces that serve a contemporary sensibility.
At a time when we need craftspeople more than ever in order to create bespoke and luxurious pieces, this myopic government wants to remove crafts from its list of recognised creative industries. Cameron and Osborne (Osborne & Little family!) are busy shuffling bits of paper around and will never create a thing in their lifetime.
The Crafts Council recently reported that craft skills contribute £3.4 billion to the economy, and this was according to research that for the first time measures the economic impact of thousands of small craft businesses in the UK. ‘Measuring the Craft Economy’ will hopefully make Ed Vaizey take note and ensure that craft’s value is reflected in official economic statistics. Or is that Artisan’s…