“Craft” has been a buzzword for a while now. Alongside it, the idea of artistry, workmanship and artisanship — skills that involve one making things by hand; not using a keyboard, mouse or stylus. It’s not hard to see why. In a world where automation and mechanisation reign, being able to get far away from the computer screen and get your hands dirty is a luxury in itself.
So is it ironic that we detox digitally by going back to traditional crafts? In this issue, we travel to Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, and look at 1,200 years’ worth of Japanese crafts alongside high jewellery from Van Cleef & Arpels’ 120-year history; a testament of Japanese and French know-how, technique and expertise. We also enter the world of Constance Spry, the floral designer whose stunning, unconventional creations decorated the homes of English society’s finest in the mid-twentieth century — and look at how Steven Meisel (by way of Jonathan Anderson at Loewe) has put her work back in the spotlight through his own lens. We also visit “Margiela: The Hermes Years”: A retrospective that brings together Martin Margiela’s avant-garde creations from his own label, Maison Martin Margiela, alongside his timeless designs for Hermès from 1997 to 2003; it showcases how his focus on tailoring and deconstruction were a perfect match for a House revered for its craftsmanship and heritage.
Finally, we have gathered 12 of Singapore’s hottest names in art in “The Local Motion”, from legends who kickstarted the local art scene to up-and-coming artists making waves across Asia. From Han Sai Por, the Cultural Medallion recipient whose stone, granite and marble pieces are dotted across the country; to Stephanie Jane Burt, who uses literature as a springboard to create mixed media installations exploring the topic of feminism; their works span media, styles and disciplines. These are the people telling stories through their chosen crafts to make an impact. Because art today is not just about using your hands — it’s about using all the tools, knowledge and techniques we have on-hand. Past. Present. Future.
—Kenneth Goh, Editor-in-Chief
Photographed by Yu Tsai. Styled by Robert Behar. Model: Grace Cheng. On the cover: Rings, Van Cleef & Arpels. Makeup: Fiona Stiles/Starworks Artists. Hair: John Ruggiero/Starworks Artists. Manicure: Christina Aviles/Opus Beauty. Producer: Trever Swearingen/88 Phases. Post Production: 88 Phases.