Face of Craft

An unusual and flawed exhibition

Article by Celia Sontag | 13 Sep 2006

Organised to celebrate the work of ten 'makers' in the field of craft, the core of this exhibition is comprised of a series of photographs taken by Shannon Tofts. Unfortunately Tofts' portraits are, in the main, overly posed and really rather awkward things. Bookbinder Faith Shannon gazes cheesily out of shot, looking awfully contemplative, whilst ceramicist Tony Franks seems to have been dumped unceremoniously in front of Glen Isla, and looks less than pleased about the whole thing. Tofts occasionally hits the mark however, as with his enigmatic image of jewellery maker Marianne Anderson. His close-up portraits of the makers' hands are similarly posed and obvious, each huge photograph depicting the maker in question clutching the tools of their trade. One feels that these works are very contrived, and that simple images of the hands on their own would have been much more effective. The few examples of finished craft on display redeem the show: Michael Lloyd's sterling silver Bowl for Hiroshima being a particularly elegant and beautiful highlight. An unusual and flawed exhibition, but one that some will enjoy nonetheless.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh until October 8. Free.