Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Welcome 2014

Lakes collective logo by artist Nick Leigh


Hello, and welcome to Lakes Collective. We are a loose collection of 30 artists and designer makers who live in and around the English Lake District. 

Lakes Collective is a self-funded,not-for-profit organisation that shares costs between the participating members at each event. We are administered by a small organising group of founder members who organise events on a voluntary basis. All members are encouraged to be active participants and enthusiastically speak about and sell our own and one another's work. We are proud that our events are welcoming and friendly, with the chance for the general public to chat directly with informed artists and designer makers about our work. 

Like all the best organisations, we formally set up in 2010 following a day of discussion at a local craft fair. There appeared to us to be a gap in opportunities for local artists and designer makers who create original work. There seemed to be plenty of small craft fairs for hobbyists making skilled handicrafts, and galleries offering exhibitions for high-end art and craft at high commissions, but nothing in-between for serious artists and designer makers who want more exposure and artistic development in order to be able to make a living from our creativity.

We were also concerned that what constitutes genuine Art and Craft is becoming confused. It increasingly seems that 'anything goes', even at some of the most prestigious craft events. Terms like "handcrafted", "handmade" and "unique" are often applied to work that hasn't been entirely designed and created by the maker. Work that is assembled from bought in components, bought items re-presented as locally designed, digital and laser prints, vintage, upcycled and recycled items are now positioned alongside original work. 

While this type of mixed event can be fun and popular, and there is certainly place for it in the creative world, we believe that it can also downgrade the knowledge and skill, hard work and the commitment to quality of serious artists and designer makers. It can also lower the general public's expectations of the amount of time involved, and the prices. 

Competing to sell our work in this expanding creative environment also means that artists and designer makers tend to focus on producing work that immediately sells, with little time and energy left over to be our creative selves. Lakes Collective is also committed to creating opportunities for our members to explore and develop new ideas and collaborate with different artistic disciplines - just for the sheer pleasure of it!        

Membership of Lakes Collective is free, and open to anyone who lives in or around the Lake District who creates high quality art or craft made from 'raw' materials as their key source of income. Members are chosen via invitation by existing members and a simple selection process. 

if you would like to be considered for membership, or to find out more about our events, or to contact one of our members about their work. 

'Washing Line' embroidery by Louise Dorman