What is The Craftsman's Cottage?
Born out of a passion for craft and making, the Craftsman’s Cottage is a supremely comfortable holiday home which has been decorated and furnished with a specific focus on British Craft in all its forms. We have curated a mix of British craft across many disciplines and placed them in a 19th century cottage. Guests will live with these pieces: slump into a Russell Pinch sofa, put their feet up on an Another Country coffee table and lay their heads on a Melin Tregwynt blanket in front of a Charnwood wood burning stove, whilst savoring an English wine from a David Mellor wine glass.
At the Craftsman’s Cottage, many of the items are either available to buy or can be sourced direct from the “craftsman”. Items of furniture (including from Pinch Design and Another Country), textiles, tableware and Bramley products are all available to purchase and Craftsman’s Cottage guests benefit from exclusive discounts on most of these items.
Each element (wallpaper, textiles, furniture, lighting, tableware as well as the food and drink in our welcome hamper) has been carefully chosen based upon its British craft credentials. The curated mix tells a story of British craft past and present.
We don’t claim that everything is “made in Britain”: many fine examples of British craft and design are created by British designers but made (at least in part) overseas due to the sad decline in our own manufacturing capabilities. We hope that businesses like ours will help to re-ignite an interest in British Craft encouraging our guests (both from the UK and abroad) to engage with and support British craftsmen from all disciplines.
On arrival the guest will find a hamper of award winning craft food and drink from all over the British Isles and the bathroom and shower rooms are stocked with Bramley Bath Products.
The Cottage also serves as a gallery space for our Artists and Makers.
In 1851 Victorian England celebrated its apogee as the centre of world commerce with the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. On show was its manufacturing might, a vast array of products rolled out by machine and the industrial process. The Arts and Crafts Movement was to emerge as a reaction against this and all things machine made, driven by an intense wish to get back to the “honest craftsman” of mediaeval England and the product of his labours. The Movement promoted man made craft. The design and the product were celebrated along with the maker: an Ambrose Heal table or a William Morris tile. It was an intense and emotional reaction against the trend towards mass manufacture; a wish to seek a more grounded and aesthetic way of work and life. The dehumanisation of the “Great War” and the financial depression that followed, forced people to focus on other matters and the Movement became a refuge for eccentric elements of the middle class, something that one of its leading spokesmen, William Morris, had fought hard to avoid.
The Movement did not die out entirely and threads of its philosophy can be seen in the work of such craftsmen as Bernard Leach (artist potter), Gordon Russell (designer of utility furniture) and Sir Terence Conran (designer).
Move forward 150 years and we see another reaction, this time against not only the uniformity of the marketplace and the disposability of its products but also a reaction against an increasing reliance on the computer, the 21st century “machine”, and its handmaidens: social media and computer games. A life lived in the transient resulting, if Morris were alive now he would argue, in disconnection from life. The craftsmen of the 21st century reacts against this displacement in the same way as Pugin, Ruskin and Morris reacted against industrialisation.
Art and Craft in the Area
The area around Semley has become a major destination for art and craft: Tisbury is a 10 minute drive away (www.messumswiltshire.com) Bruton lies 20 minutes to the North West (www.hauserwirthsomerset.com) and just outside Salisbury 30 minutes away) is the New Sculpture Park at Roche Court (www.sculpture.uk.com). For more information on local galleries, studios and courses, see our Local Interests section of the website.