Jerwood Makers Open


Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN



Open to the Public



Following a national call which elicited 271 submissions, Sam Bakewell, Juli Bolaños-Durman, Jessica Harrison, Marcin Rusak and Laura Youngson Coll have been selected for Jerwood Makers Open 2017, a unique commissioning opportunity recognising the most exciting new talents in contemporary applied arts. Each artist will receive an award of £7,500 to realise and make new work.

The resulting work will be shown in a group exhibition as part of the Jerwood Visual Arts programme at Jerwood Space in London from 28 June –27 August 2017, before touring nationally.

Jerwood Makers Open is a biennial opportunity encouraging ambitious and/or radical proposals from UK-based makers and collaborators within 10 years of beginning their practice. Launched in 2010, it focuses on makers and making supporting work in a diverse range of materials and progressive practices including, but not limited to: glass, metal, wood, paper, textiles, ceramics, furniture and jewellery. Five artists are selected through a national open call and each receive £7,500 to create new works for a national touring exhibition.

The 2017 awardees have submitted distinct proposals which they will develop over the next six months, each with a focus on exploring new materials and processes:

  • Breaking with his history in clay, Sam Bakewell will be using wood for the first time. He plans to carve with a chainsaw and chisel a series of poly-chromed objects which will form enlarged abstracts with details referencing historic carving. These will include water, fire, hair and animals, expanding on his interests in the philosophy and symbolism of the spiral as archetypal form.
  • Marcin Rusak will reflect on consumer culture with an installation made from perishable objects. The product designer, who comes from a family of flower growers, will create several pieces using organic composites, such as waste flowers, shellac, beeswax and resin in different stages of decay. Playing with the processes of destruction, renewal and reconstruction, the work will stimulate questions about history and possible future scenarios.
  • After originally training in sculpture, and gaining expertise in leatherwork, Laura Youngson Coll has taken this knowledge to create both fictitious and scientific depictions of the natural world in her sculptural work. Laura will use traditional bookbinding materials and techniques to create a series of detailed pieces examining the cellular morphology of lymphoma, personally significant after the illness and subsequent death of her partner. This microscopic perspective, familiar in her practice, reflects the idea of assimilating events in a highly personal way and will examine the reconciliation of scientific explanation with personal experience of illness.
  • Before completing an MFA in Glass at the University of Edinburgh in 2013, designer Juli Bolaños-Durman originally trained in graphic design and worked in mixed media. Juli will explore the journey of transformation which takes place as she converts ordinary objects into objets d’art. She has proposed a colourful large-scale glass installation made of many intricately cut sculptures, using found and blown glass. She will create an intimate atmosphere between the creature-like figurines which come to life with dramatic lighting.
  • Jessica Harrison is a sculptor who has experimented with a variety of materials and will use the opportunity to continue her engagement with ceramics. She will create a new body of sculptural objects in porcelain and bone china that explores the notion of the collection as a physical grouping, and a framework that structures the viewer and their movements and sensory experiences. Working from the traditional idea of the collection this will focus on contemporary forms of collecting such as Pinterest.


The artists were selected by an independent panel comprising Deirdre Figueiredo MBE, Director, Craftspace, alongside Skinder Hundal, CEO/Director, New Art Exchange; Geoffrey Mann, artist and Programme Director, Glass at Edinburgh College of Art; Clare Twomey, artist, and Sarah Williams, Head of Programme, Jerwood Visual Arts.

Sarah Williams commented, “Jerwood Makers Open provides a platform for artists to develop ambitious new work outside of conventional commissioning structures and an opportunity for makers to push their ideas further with financial and curatorial support. Through the selection process we reviewed a high number of proposals and the five selected makers have exceptional ideas. We look forward to supporting the development of the work over the coming months.”

Clare Twomey added, “Jerwood Makers Open 2017 artists are a testament to the evolving role of making in creative practice. This group of artists are intrepid in their endeavour to explore ideas through material relationships. Our contemporary context of making will be seen through a generation of makers who are interested in material exploration and the rendering of dialogues through and with the collaboration of materials, it’s a very exciting selection.”

Jerwood Makers Open 2017

Exhibition run:
28 June to 27 August 2017

Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN

Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat/Sun 10am-3pm