This is the fourth year of New Makers, our programme designed to support and mentor craftspeople at the beginning of their creative journey. Launched in April 2019, makers from across the globe apply each year, with five chosen finalists receiving business and marketing advice from TOAST, as well as a platform to sell their unique pieces.
Each of our makers for 2022 demonstrate a great appreciation for material and texture in their designs and we are delighted to introduce them to you. While varied in their approaches and disciplines, all showed commonalities in tune with our own ethos – that of thoughtfulness, simplicity, and a celebration of age-old techniques.
The final grouping brings together woodworker Samuel Alexander, brush-maker Rosa Harradine, weaver Dalia James, designer Rose Pearlman and ceramicist Reesha Zubair. Below, we introduce each maker and their work.
“I enjoy the process of making more than the outcome. I describe it as an energy release – it’s a way for me to find a sense of calm.”
Originally from north Devon and now based in east London, Samuel Alexander is a woodworker who began making spoons and vessels as a cathartic form of therapy. Inspired by organic shapes, his pieces are made from different kinds of wood, depending on what has been felled as part of local tree management.
He works at London Greenwood, a cooperative and community based at Hackney City Farm, where tools are shared and maintained by members. Each piece he creates is individual, due to natural variations such as the grain of the wood and the use of hand tools.
Inspired by growth and harvest, he makes his rounded vessels and ergonomic cooking spoons using traditional hand tools including an axe and adze, an ancient tool similar to an axe with a curved blade, the cutting edge perpendicular to the handle.
“The repetition, attention to detail, and focus required to keep the thread under constant tension brings me to a meditative state of calm and reflection.”
Wales-based maker Rosa Harradine creates brushes from natural fibres; the bristles are made from tampico and arenga, which are wrapped with hemp cord and finished with a cotton strap, making them completely biodegradable.
Rosa makes the brushes in her garden workshop in Carmarthen, with the long-term goal of growing plants on her land for the bristles. The process involves keeping the hemp thread constantly under tension, wrapped around a rolling pin underneath her feet to make the handles tight and strong.
She only began making brushes last year, but now has a signature design with the cord running asymmetrically down the bristles. Due to being handmade, each varies slightly in colour and shape.
“I dip-dye the yarns by hand, so even though the structure of a weaving can be the same, no two will ever be identical.”
Weaver Dalia James creates wall hangings and rugs on three looms in her east London studio. Inspired by the Bauhaus movement and a broad range of architectural styles, she uses geometric forms and vibrant colours in her unique weavings.
Dalia uses biodegradable fibres including bamboo alongside wool and silk to reduce impact on the environment. She dyes the yarns herself – which she has done since she studied woven textiles at Loughborough University – and often dip-dyes them to create a hazy effect similar to ikat fabrics. Because of this, each piece is unique.
To create the wall hangings, Dalia uses a double cloth structure to form intricate geometric blocks in the weft, juxtaposed by the organic nature of the hand dip-dyed warp. The artworks are handwoven from biodegradable spun silk and bamboo yarn and wrapped around a wooden frame.
“I’m drawn to anything that is rhythmic and soothing. With continuous repetition, I can see my pieces slowly start to take form.”
Based in Brooklyn, Rose Pearlman creates natural raffia and cotton bags using the punch-needle technique. She began rug hooking to stay creative when she was looking after her young son, finding it an expressive medium and enjoying how the method can be used to create functional objects and be easily returned to throughout the day.
She works from her Brooklyn apartment and during the summer, from a small studio in northern Vermont, creating tactile pieces through a slow, thoughtful process.
Rose uses a hand-held wooden tool, enjoying the slow pace of the technique and the fact that each hand stitch or loop created needs to be intentional and carefully placed.
“My pieces represent my relationships with the women who have been a big part of my life – equally strong in their character and beautiful in their nature.”
Potter Reesha Zubair creates serene vessels in her Bristol studio, which she set up closeby to her house after interning at a pottery studio in Jericho, Oxford.
Tying her to memories of home in the Maldives, Reesha’s Shareefa and Hawwa series of pots are named after her grandmothers, reflecting their close relationships.
She hand-builds the vessels using the slab and coiling method from stoneware clay, then creates marks on the surface using a kidney tool. They are left unglazed, with the forms, slips and textures creating a sense of variation and expression.
Portrait of Rose Pearlman by Raphaël Gaultier. All other photographs by Suzie Howell.