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Loewe Craft Prize  the installation at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo (Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)
The Installation at Paris’ Palais de Tokyo (Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

The Craft of Creativity: Stories from the 2024 LOEWE Foundation Craft Prize

In a world where technology bounds forward at an uncomfortable pace, the desire to preserve traditional practices and feel connected to our fellow human is not a novel concept. The tactile art of craftsmanship is one such tradition that has surged in popularity over the past decade, and the LOEWE FOUNDATION has undoubtedly played a role in this trend. When Jonathan Anderson assumed the role of Creative Director at LOEWE in 2013, he plainly articulated his vision for the brand's future—a vision that extended beyond fashion. 'When I first joined Loewe, and I was with Delphine Arnault, I remember saying to her that I really wanted to build Loewe as a cultural brand not knowing what that was, that was me trying to come up with a one-liner', A pithy one-liner and sentiment that Anderson and the LOEWE team have kept at the heart of what they have created. Unlike many fashion houses who seemly bowl into design and attempt to dictate the conversation, Anderson has deeply embedded himself in this realm. His commitment is not just about marketing—it's a genuine passion for artistic form. Speaking at the LOEWE FOUNDATION press junket, he discusses his personal collection, which includes pieces from notable artists like Lucie Rie, who has seen her prices sore in the last decade, another flag showing the increased understanding and interest in the craft market.


Loewe Foundation Craft Prize Palais de Tokyo
Palais de Tokyo (Image credit: Courtesy of Loewe)

Palais de Tokyo in Paris, a venue celebrated for its innovative and expansive approach to contemporary art, provided a striking backdrop for this year's LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize. The expert panel whittled the 3,900 entries from around the globe down to just 30. Out of those thirty, there would be special mentions and one winner who would be awarded 50,000 euros. Press en masse descended on the dinner the night before the exhibition's unveiling and the announcement of the winner. Here, we sat at tables interspersed with a few of the thirty finalists. The jury committee was comprised of extraordinary names in the world of art and design, such as ceramicist Magdalene Odundo, Director of the Department of Decorative Arts at the Louvre, Olivier Gabet, who dined elsewhere. Upon arriving, I found this arrangement odd. Yet, this was not their first rodeo. On reflection, it would have been challenging not to bring personal experiences of your encounters with the finalists into the decision-making process. As one very witty journalist said to me, 'You have the footprint of the last finalist you spoke to.' That was indeed very true. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with each of the finalists, many of whom had brought family members with them. Thus, at that dinner, extraordinarily passionate, talented individuals surrounded us, each with a story to tell about their journey to this point and how much it had already meant to them. I did not envy the jury's decision.

Aubrey Plaza Jonathan Anderson
From left: Jonathan Anderson, 2024 winner Andrés Anza and actor Aubrey Plaza, who presented the award. (Image Credit Courtesy Loewe Foundation)

The next day, we all reconvened at the exhibition; it was the first time the finalists had seen their pieces since January. For Polly Adams Sutton, one of the finalists, it felt like reuniting with an old friend. Each piece was placed upon a metallic tiled pedestal, inviting the meticulous gaze of the audience. The press moved around the room, having the privilege of speaking to each finalist while standing beside their work. Among them was Ferne Jacobs, an 81-year-old weaver whose piece '‘Origins' included three types of wax linen thread. Having woven for 50 years, her bed served as her workshop. Next, we encountered Jeremy Frey, a weaver from the United States, whose work 'Symphony in Ash' was an intricately woven geometric basket that reinterpreted ancestral Wabanaki nation weaving techniques. This mesmerizing piece captivated me completely, and it was unsurprising to hear that one of his works is destined for the MET. It is also essential to mention the winner, Andrés Anza, a ceramicist from Mexico, who received his prize from everyone's favourite Loewe cover girl, Aubrey Plaza. His entry, 'I only know what I have seen,' a life-sized totemic ceramic composed of five parts, was noted by the jury for its 'arresting, almost human form.' The exceptional quality of this year's entries sparked a 'heated debate' among the jury, resulting in three special mentions instead of the usual two.


The event was a thrilling celebration over two days. Witnessing such recognition of craftsmanship was genuinely heartwarming and brought the talents of these remarkable individuals into the spotlight.


If you're keen to experience the exhibition, it will be hosted at the Palais de Tokyo from May 15th until June 9th. For those unable to visit Paris, the LOEWE FOUNDATION has created an excellent online platform, offering detailed insights into each artwork.


WINNER -

Andrés Anza, I only know what I have seen, ceramics, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Loewe
Andrés Anza, I only know what I have seen, ceramics, 2023. (Image Credit: Courtesy of Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)

Ferne Jacobs Weaving Loewe
Ferne Jacobs, Origins, 2018. (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize.)
Jeremy Frey, Symphony in Ash, black ash, sweet grass, and synthetic dye, 2022. Polly Adams Sutton, Ebb Tide, cedar bark, binder cane, and magnet wire, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Loewe
Jeremy Frey, Symphony in Ash, 2022. Polly Adams Sutton, Ebb Tide, 2023.(Image Credit: Courtesy of Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)
Debaroun, 'Harmony' (2023), Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize
Debaroun, 'Harmony' (2023), (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize )

Bamboo Rock Loewe Craft Prize
Yuefeng He. 'Bamboo Rock', 2023. (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)

Alison Croney Moses, 'Holy Shell', 2023. (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)
Alison Croney Moses, 'Holy Shell', 2023. (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)

SPECIAL MENTION

Heechan Kim Loewe Craft Prize
Heechan Kim, '#16', 2023 (Image Credit: Courtesy of Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)

SPECIAL MENTION

Miki Asai Still Life Loewe Craft Prize
Miki Asai, 'Still Life', 2023 (Image Credit: Courtesy of Loewe Foundation Craft Prize)

SPECIAL MENTION

Emmanuel Boos Coffee Table Loewe Craft
emmanuel boos, Coffee table, 2023. (Image Credit: Courtesy Loewe Foundaton Craft Prize.)


 

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