Books: Batch

It’s rare that a book fires on all cylinders but this one does.

Andrew Tanner’s Batch is a subtle but nonetheless passionate polemic against a world that is “awash with cloned product design purchased through large retailers creating high-volume, low-profit manufactured items.” It  celebrates the the designers/makers who are doing something about this by building bridges between craft, contemporary design, and small-scale manufacturing.

But this book is no dry treatise. Organized by media (ceramics, glass, wood, metal, surface design, fiber, multimedia) it’s fabulous eye candy. Featuring great design by up-and-coming designer/crafts people from Europe and in the US, such as Bodo Sperlein (ceramics, UK), Paul Loebach (furniture, US) and Sidsel Dorph-Jensen (silver, Denmark) and Helen Amy Murray (fibre, UK). Throughout the book, you’re inspired by some amazing work, and by the words and lives of the makers themselves, who’ve shown themselves to be as creative in the business of design and craft as they are in their work.

In particular, it showcases designers and craftspeople who’ve worked successfully with manufacturers/producers who’ve helped them get their products out to a broader audience. (And based on our conversations with DesignCrafters, many would welcome an opportunity to work with manufacturers.) The book also includes tips and recommendations from the designers on working with manufacturers and becoming successful in the design/craft business.

Tanner, a talented ceramicist in his own right, is the perfect example of the trend: a ceramicist, who founded a design firm (consulting to manufacturers) who then became the head of design for Royal Stafford and Poole Pottery. His work has appeared in many national and international papers and magazines including Elle Decoration, Homes and Gardens, Vogue and Living ETC. Andrew has collaborated on projects with the Arts Council and the organization Craftspace, and takes part in the selection process for Design Nation and Design Factory in the UK.

The book highlights the web of resources available to designers/crafts people in the UK and Europe….and in so doing, highlights how few financial and information resources are available to support craft and design in the US. Sad, but true, and something we’d like to see remedied.

Start with Batch to see what’s possible.

Batch is available through Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

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