Tom Pigeon are one of the Scottish makers showcasing their work at London Craft Week this year, which seems to have a focus on Scottish craft this year.
Kirsty Thomas of Tom Pigeon spoke to The Fountain about the collection they will be taking to London, their collaborative approach and what is precisely at the heart of Tom Pigeon as well as their geographical influences from living in the East Neuk of Fife.
TF: So, Kirsty, what is it that Tom Pigeon does – can you describe your style and what mediums and crafting materials you conventionally use?
At the heart of what we do is simplicity, craft and affordability. Our work can be minimal and abstract but we also love type and colour and we hope that what we create makes people feel happy. We work across a range of products including print (screen, digital, foiling, letterpress), jewellery and stationery. We have an amazing team of in-house jewellers who craft everything in the studio and we work with a great range of craftspeople and manufacturers throughout the UK to realise our designs.
TF: And you are launching the Shipwreck collection at London Craft Week. Can you give us some background around the collection?
Shipwreck is a range of home objects inspired by the shapes, colours and materials washed up on our local beaches on the east coast of Scotland. The flotsam and jetsam which appear on the shoreline create unexpected rhythms and combinations of bleached wood, faded plastic, rope and fibreglass. The collection explores these forms and colours, stripping each element back to a simple abstract form. We will be showing a series of interlinking screen prints, a handcrafted mobile, woven rug, model boat and a series of stationery.
TF: Where did the inspiration come from to create this collection of works?
We live and work in the East Neuk of Fife and much of my work is inspired by the colour, shape and form of local geography – harbours, boats, hand painted type, ice cream colours. The collection started with a series of prints, which reflect the rhythms, colours and shapes of objects washed up on the shore – our work often starts with a theme like this and we gradually peel back the layers of the design until we are left with its most simple, minimal version. We then looked at new materials and processes to create a series of other objects – we worked with traditional drug makers in India, with a Kirkcaldy linen mill which has been weaving since 1825, with a Scottish artist and model maker and with our own team of jewellery and product designers.
TF: And for this you are working with the Republic of Fritz Hansen talking at their store? Is this something you have done before and are you excited about working with them?
We’ve not worked with Fritz Hansen before but have worked with their sister store Skandium in the past. It’s really exciting to be able to showcase the work in such a prestigious retail setting in central London. I have done a few public speaking events in the past but this is the first I have organised – it should be a great evening of conversation around Craft, Design and Manufacture and we are really lucky to welcome some great speakers to the panel. Seb Cox is a master woodcraftsman and I have long admired his work and working methods, Katie Treggiden is a great friend and award winning design journalist, I have been working with amazing Simon Goff from Floorstory on our new collection and Jane Norris is an academic with a wealth of knowledge in this area.
TF: And you are also working with Floorstory. What influenced you to work with them?
I met Simon at London Design Festival a few years ago and I love the work he creates in collaboration with designers like Laura Spring, Kangan Arora and Camille Walala – he really knows the industry well and I felt he could guide us through the rug making process better than anyone else. And he has!
TF: And have you had much experience in this collaborative style of craft and creation, particularly with companies as far south as London?
We’ve been really lucky to collaborate with some great spaces over recent years. Our collection is sold all over the world and we work a lot with art galleries and design museums. We’ve recently collaborated with The Barbican to create prints and stationery to accompany their Charles and Ray Eames retrospective, with the Science Museum for their Cosmonauts exhibition and with Tate Modern on their recent Alexander Calder show. We love collaborating to create exclusive ranges for places and are currently chatting with the V&A about an exciting new project.
For more on Scottish craft at London Craft Week, which kicks off today, click here.