The Best in Contemporary Craft Comes to Chester

Chester Visual Arts are proud to present the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize, marking the launch of a new year-long exhibition programme at The Old Library in Chester. This exhibition follows the hugely successful V&A Pop Art in Print exhibition and Liz West’s Our Colour Reflection at Chester Cathedral, further cementing the organisation’s ambition to bring great art to Chester.

Showcasing the most innovative and exciting craft practice in the UK today, this V&A exhibition at the Old Library marks the 70th anniversary of BBC Woman’s Hour. Traditional materials and historic skills meet new techniques in an exhibition that combines beauty and precise detail with challenging ideas.

The twelve finalists featured in the exhibition display a wide array of approaches to contemporary craft practice, with works made from woven willow and darned jumpers to a bespoke bicycle and intricate jewellery. Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to delve deeper, view closer to unearth challenging ideas including the decline of UK manufacturing, advances in medicine and stories of memory and loss

The artists in the exhibition are: Laura Ellen Bacon (willow weaving), Alison Britton (ceramics), Neil Brownsword (ceramics and installation), Lin Cheung (jewellery), Phoebe Cummings (clay sculpture), Caren Hartley (metalwork), Peter Marigold (furniture), Celia Pym (textiles), Romillly Saumarez Smith (jewellery), Andrea Walsh (ceramics), Emma Woffenden (glass) and Laura Youngson Coll (vellum/sculpture).

Exhibition tour organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is in association with BBC Radio 4 and the Crafts Council.

Ian Short, Chairman of Chester Visual Arts said:

“Following the success of our collaboration on the Pop Art in Print Exhibition, we are delighted to be working again with the V&A on a 3-5 year programme for Chester and now to be bringing the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize. As a city that is steeped in history and beauty, we feel this exhibition reflects the developments happening here today and our wish to challenge and inspire our residents and visitors.”




Woman’s Hour Craft Prize

The Woman’s Hour Craft Prize is a collaboration between the Crafts Council, the V&A and BBC Radio 4. The most comprehensive of its kind, the prize was established to find and celebrate the most innovative and exciting craft practitioner or designer-maker resident in the UK today. It rewards originality and excellence in concept, design and process, recognising makers who have demonstrably contributed to craft practice in the last five years. Ceramicist Phoebe Cummings was named the winner on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour broadcast live from the V&A on 8 November 2017. She was awarded a prize of £10,000 by a judging panel made up of Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council; Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A; Martha Kearney, BBC journalist and broadcaster; Susie Lau, fashion writer and style influencer; and Jacky Klein, art historian.

Chester Visual Arts

Chester Visual Arts is a not for profit company established to bring a new focus to visual arts provision to the City of Chester and the region. By bringing internationally acclaimed artists to the City of Chester and the wider region, Chester Visual Arts aims to establish a regular programme of quality events and exhibitions, which will lead to the City becoming a go to place nationally and internationally for the visual arts. Its ultimate aim is to create a permanent public art gallery in Chester.


30 November 2018 – 16 March 2019

Opening times: Wednesday – Saturday, 11am – 5pm

Address: The Old Library, Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2EF

The venue is fully accessible.

The exhibition will be closed for the Christmas period from 16 December 2018 to 8 January 2019

Image: Neil Brownsword, Factory with Rita Floyd, 1, 2017, Photo: Korea Ceramic Foundation