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The New Craftsman – the Mayfair-based champion of crafts are teaming up with Floris, British family perfumer & the oldest fragrance house still independently run in the world, in a unique collaboration that will culminate in an installation developed by textile artist Katherine May in the original perfume workshop 2 stories below the store on Jermyn Street, and out of service since 1940s. All taking place during London Craft Week.

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The collaboration was forged when Katherine May visited the store as part of The New Craftsmen’s ‘Made of Mayfair’ project; giving 8 craft makers a unique opportunity to explore the history, architecture and craftsmanship inherent in Mayfair.

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A visit to Floris, which remains a family run business to this day, and is still located in its original premises, provided a rich seam of inspiration for this textiles artist who specialises in natural plant and flower based dyes for her strikingly contemporary patchwork and fabrics.

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The group of makers were asked to develop ideas in response to moments of inspiration during the walk; for Katherine the hand-written ledgers containing the original perfume recipes offered intriguing parallels to her own investigations into the chromatic properties of plants and flowers for her fabric dyeing.

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Katherine’s modern sensibility but love of ancient techniques sparked the interest of Edward Bodenham, (Director and 9th generation of the family) at Floris who invited Katherine & The New Craftsmen to create a fabric based installation in the ‘mine’ of the shop – the original perfume workshop in the sub-basement where is grandfather and previous generations produced the fragrance – during London Craft Week.

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Katherine’s investigation into the archives and the practice of the perfumers at Floris will see her drawing out the relationship
between colour and scent, using original perfume recipes as a basis to create a textile based installation in this atmospheric subterranean space & inform a series of flower dyed textiles and cushions to be launched during London Craft week at The New Craftsmen.

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There will be two unique opportunities to view this striking installation – the first for participants in a natural dying workshop hosted by Katherine in the ‘Mine’ on Thursday 7th May (click here) and the installation will also be accessible to members of the public on the morning of Saturday 9th May via a signup feature on The New Craftsmen’s website (click here)

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Says Edward Bodenham, “We fondly refer to our sub-basement as the ‘mine’ and until recently it’s been a space we’ve kept closed. We’ve lately been spending time carefully exploring our archives and as such have re-gained access to the space to give us the opportunity to document a number of our historic artifacts.

When approached by The New Craftsman with Katherine’s enthusisam, we immediately wanted to invite her to work within the space, and hope a select number of people will be able to view a display of true craft that is a homage to our maker roots, but also spend time in a space that is a rarely seen slice of London history.”

“This project has served to introduce our modern makers to the unique characteristics of Mayfair & St James and help them connect to the unique legacy of making in this part of London. In turn they have been inspired to make new work and indeed collaborate with brands such as Floris. We can only hope that their work will endure and inspire future generations.” – Natalie Melton, The New Craftsmen.

The 7 makers working on Made of Mayfair include: Aimee Betts, Mr Smith, Pedro da Costa Felguieres, Billy Lloyd, Katherine May, Catarina Riccabona & Rosalind Wyatt.

‘Natural dying workshop’ – hosted by Katherine in the ‘Mine’ – Thursday 7th May 2015.

‘Perfume & colour’ – a unique installation in the ‘Mine’ at Floris – Saturday 9th May 2015.

Floris  (89 Jermyn St, London, SW1Y 6JH)
The New Craftsman
London Craft Week