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09 Jan 2023

JFS announces experiential live workshop in association with the CECM

JFS announces experiential live workshop in association with the CECM
Renowned British designer Bill Amberg to feature in four-day activation to celebrate ‘craft’ and shine a spotlight on fresh new talent

anuary Furniture Show has announced details of an experiential workshop in association with the Centre for Excellence in Creative Making (CECM) – taking place at the Birmingham NEC, 22-25 January 2023.

It’s the first time in the show’s 32-year history that a craft workshop has been brought to life during the show. Craft The Future will be in Hall 5, and throughout the four days, visitors will be able to see interiors and furniture products being made by specialists in their field, demonstrating traditional heritage skills, combining contemporary applications, and creating products with sustainable materials.

The CECM is established as a trade skills preservation initiative, uniting a growing network of the best UK creatives, practitioners, educators, and operatives throughout the supply chain. It supports and promotes the preservation of heritage skills across the leather and related industry sectors. The core team and founder, Ruth Glen, are specialists in their chosen fields with backgrounds in high level commercial b2b projects, bespoke making, and manufacturing.

The creative direction of the CECM is motivated by a deep commitment to expansive innovation, operating in harmony with traditional craftsmanship and expertise. To counterbalance the skills deficit, it aims to boost the UK’s declining skill-base for creative manufacturing, through training, education, incubators, and manufacturing.  Nurturing fresh talent and creating an environment where the skills and knowledge of craftspeople can inspire new entries, replenish the workforce, and preserve the heritage and future of our creative industry.

Renowned British maker, Bill Amberg, will join the event to share insight into the use of leather in interiors and architecture. The Bill Amberg Studio stands as the UK’s foremost authority on leather’s architectural and sculptural applications. The studio is renowned for combining heritage techniques with cutting-edge technology, as demonstrated in recent projects for 22 Bishopsgate, The Royal Academy of Arts and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey.

Bill Amberg CECM

Craft The Future in association with the CECM will be a contemporary, creative, development studio, with an artisan workshop feel. Visitors will be welcomed into the hub of activity with a varied programme including:

  • talks and presentations by industry names including Bill Amberg, Dr. Kerry Senior, Cockpit Arts, Leather UK, The Young Furniture Makers, UKFT and Arts Thread
  • focus on leather – the variety, industry, and current ecological environmental dialogue on sustainability
  • live making demonstrations – hand skills, technical approaches and applications expressing the journey from design concept to finished product
  • video screen footage of live workshops with designs in progress using heavier machinery
  • product up-cycling, restoration, and repair
  • design and making education, with lecturer and student participation
  • live demonstrations from makers including NosaKhari, ARB Bespoke London, Sheena Hamson, LTT Leathercare, Louise Heighes, Gina McQuen, Jesse Noy, Harry Owen, Charles Laurie, Carl Fox, Hannah Galvin-Horne and Walter Reginald
  • components workshop – textiles and hardware with a sustainability focus

James Howard, Show Manager, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Ruth and the CECM team to bring this vibrant element to our show. The CECM highlights critical elements of the interiors and design industries. It is taking great steps to future-proof our industry by protecting and preserving skills and opening up key conversations on topics such as sustainability – that are essential for the future. Working together with them on this activation not only provides a real opportunity to raise awareness of these issues with our highly influential audience, but also provides our guests with content that will be entertaining, educational, and inspiring – greatly enhancing their time with us.” 

Ruth Glen, founder of the CECM, added: “The opportunity to showcase the work and passion of our organisation in front of such a large audience of key industry sectors is exceptional, and we are looking forward to displaying some fascinating content over the four-day event. The industry faces an unprecedented skills shortage, needing more than ever to work together as a whole, looking to the future to preserve and endorse these skills, honed so finely over generations.”

“Our Craft The Future workshop will be a fresh and varied first-hand experience for visitors, reflecting on the importance of craft and offering an insight into the skills behind the scenes, for the curious to explore this fascinating industry and the artistic benefit it can bring for all.”

CECM ©Ruth Glen

The January Furniture Show has been running for 32 years and takes place 22-25 January 2023 at the Birmingham NEC. It was announced in December that a brand new event will be launched at the show, the Home Interiors Show. An exclusive first look will be given in January with the inaugural event taking place in September 2023.  More than 350 brands are exhibiting across the four halls: Premium Design; the Home Interiors Show; Living, Dining & Bedroom; and Upholstery & Beds.

An expected 15,000+ professional retail buyers from a wide range of industries will attend the four-day event, spending more than £500m as they make major purchasing decisions for the year ahead. Buyers will be in attendance from sectors spanning independent retailers, department stores and multiples, online retailers, architects, interior designers, garden centres, contract buyers, procurement managers, hoteliers, and property developers. 

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