As part of London Craft Week, The Prince’s Foundation is showcasing the work of its key arts and crafts programmes, including works by the School of Traditional Arts, the Modern Artisans textile programme and the Building Arts and Crafts programme. Come visit us at the Garrison Chapel for our exhibition, workshops, demonstrations, and lectures.
Work will be featured from current and past students with a focus on sharing the aims and vision of the Foundation and that of our president HRH The Prince of Wales. Our key principles of practice will be captured by highlighting the individual programme aims, which collectively reflect HRH’s profound interest in some of the most relevant and pressing challenges facing the world we live in today.
The education activities of the Prince’s Foundation embody the importance of preserving the world’s sacred and traditional arts, for the purpose of handing on the immense richness of human knowledge, wisdom and skill, and giving them new life and application in the contemporary context. At the core of our teaching methodology is the understanding and study of the universal principles of the Order of Nature, which makes us better designers and makers on one level, and on a deeper level allows us to reconnect to humanity and each other as ‘a whole’ while respecting and honouring all cultural traditions.
By learning from and in Nature, students studying at The Prince’s Foundation develop a deep appreciation for our natural world and by embedding sustainability principles and responsible practice within our teaching we can ensure that they are able to positively contribute to the planet. An important strand of the teaching process is the preservation of heritage and handcraft techniques through a range of disciplines and media, approached from a holistic and interdisciplinary perspective to build an understanding of the part each craft form plays in the creation of the product or art piece.
The exhibition captures our students’ journey as they acquire and master the essential craft skills needed to establish their professional practice in the fields of traditional arts, building crafts and textiles.
School of Traditional Arts
The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts has, for a number of years now, pioneered practical post-graduate degrees at Masters and Doctoral level in the traditional arts of the great civilizations of the world. Programmes emphasise the importance of integrating theoretical study with practical application. One of the School’s main objectives is to encourage an awareness of the holistic nature of the traditional artist, whose inspiration derives from the highest sources and whose skill and dedication creates masterpieces which we can all recognise as part of our world heritage.
At London Craft Week, The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts will exhibit artworks and research notebooks by its graduates as they grew in their practice from studying on our MA and PhD programmes to becoming professional craft practitioners, respected Masters and teachers.
Artworks on display will reflect all the areas of study on the MA programme – including Eastern and Western painting practices, illumination, calligraphy, gilding, natural pigment making, as well as a variety of crafts such as ceramics, woodwork and stained glass. You will also have the opportunity to meet the artists in person, who will give talks about their artistic and professional journey and as well as regular demonstrations about their practices within the gallery space.
We recognise geometry as the link between all the sacred and traditional arts, which is why we emphasise its importance throughout our curriculum and teaching. We teach geometry as a creative practice that brings together the wisdom of the head with the practical skill of the hands and the compassion of the heart. At the same time, it is a rigorous discipline that can lead to self-development and, through systematic study, to achievement of originality which underlies all the traditional arts. Students become aware of geometric pattern as cosmological, reflecting the natural order and thus inherently beautiful. During the exhibition, you will be able to learn more about traditional geometry and its connection with the Order of Nature through practical workshops and talks, and to enjoy a display of beautiful geometric patterns skilfully painted with natural handmade pigments.
The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts outreach work extends and reinforces the validity of our core principles and education methodology beyond the academic context. In practice 'outreach' means drawing out and working with the inherent values ‒ inspirational, social, practical and economic ‒ that form a community, as well as teaching the practical skills that define its cultural heritage. The exhibition will also display images and works from some of outreach projects around the world.
The textiles work will feature the Modern Artisan collection produced by a small number of Italian and British artisans working collaboratively on the design and manufacture of a luxury fashion collection. The programme aims to demonstrate that traceability in production with due consideration at every stage to environmental impact can produce a fully sustainable collection while simultaneously developing artisan level skills that preserve craftmanship within the fashion industry as an antidote to fast fashion. The garment life cycle should be one of longevity, treasured and treated as an heirloom before finally, at end of use, being able to decompose and return to the soil. The collection evolved through the design process which was informed by the Renaissance art and drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci Codex Atlanticus. The drawings and paintings influenced detail and colour palette which were then partnered with data insights into customer preference to determine silhouette and proportion. The manufacture of the collection focused on luxury and sustainable natural fabrics ranging from Scottish cashmere to Italian silks and was produced in the textile centre situated at the charity’s headquarters in Dumfries House in Scotland. Many of the finishes are handmade including smocked detailing which was based on engineering drawings and linked back to the historic technique. The collection was launched to an international market in November 2020 via all four of Yoox Net a Porter online platforms. Work will be on display from alumni of the programme to show where they are one year on. Panel talks will be given by our alumni and the new Modern Artisan intake who will share the journey they will have taken one month into our new round of delivery. The display will consist of mood boards, sketchbooks, garment pattern blocks, samples, and prototypes and the collection of womenswear and menswear, along with video content capturing the process.
Building Arts & Crafts Programme
The Building Arts Programme aims to inspire a future generation of artists, craftspeople, designers, and makers to promote a built environment which draws on a vast array of different skills, materials and processes, and celebrates the physical, temporal and even symbolic connections which can be realised through our buildings and places. At the heart of the Building Arts Programme is the idea that our built environment is a collaboration between a vast array of different discipline areas which are all fundamentally linked and interrelated. Current practice, both educationally and vocationally, is to separate and teach these principles independently – the Building Arts Programme looks to provide a space for rediscovering shared learning and practice, enabling students to explore the multifaceted nature of the built environment and their role within it.
The 2020 cohort worked together to develop their individual disciplines while sharing their learning and skillset with their peers. Masterclasses delivered by experience craft practitioners led the students through a journey that concluded with the building of a Shepherds Hut that combined their individual and collective expertise. From the oak frames structure to the inclusion of hand decorated and fired tiles, stained glass panels and woven panels that decorate and insulate each detail of the final product was carefully considered to have both form and function. Alumni of the programme will share their process through a presentation of sketchbooks, photography, prototypes, samples, and final pieces that they created during and after the programme. The work on display will be supported by a series of talks on a variety of craft forms including printed and carved wood, woven wool and naturally dyed and printed textiles, stained glass, carved plasterwork, and wooden furniture making.
There will be a complimentary series of public workshops at our sites at Garrison Chapel and Trinity Buoy Wharf that link to an aspect of the exhibition. These workshops will be bookable via the School of Traditional Arts website.