Designer-Makers Fabio Hendry, Oscar Lhermitte, The Bristol Weaving Mill and Liam Hopkins have been shortlisted for the £10,000 Arts Foundation Materials Evolution Award supported by The Clothworkers' Company.

  • The Materials Innovation Award has set a new agenda bringing together extraordinary work for further support and public recognition. Initiated five years ago by The Clothworkers’ Company and the Arts Foundation, it backed entrepreneurial materials innovators such as Julia Lohmann for her work with seaweed within design and Sarat Babu for his work in microkinetics, developing materials capable of changing their physical property.

    It’s evident that entrepreneurial materials innovation now describes a broader set of practices permeating design thinking and problem-solving in society including practitioners interested in ethics and social impact where materials become ‘tools for social change’, and others who identify themselves as part of the ‘maker movement’– engaged from idea through production to application or market.

    Taking this into consideration the Prize will now be running three parallel categories, awarded on a yearly rotation comprised of Materials Innovation, Social Innovation and lastly Designer-Makers which was selected for this years’ award.

    Four designer-makers, Bristol Weaving Mill, Fabio Hendry , Oscar Lhermitte
    and Liam Hopkins have now been shortlisted for the £10,000 prize. Selected from a longlist of UK-based practitioners nominated by experts and practitioners, the finalists demonstrated both entrepreneurship and experimentation in equal measures; from the directors of Bristol Weaving Mill (products developed from local sourced wool & Alpaca) who have built up their brand following a demand for small-batch, innovative woven fabric to Fabio Hendry whose focus on ‘overlooked matter’ has led him to create furniture from nylon powder, a by-product of 3D printing. With Oscar Lhermitte, his success in bringing a highly designed product to market from an initial idea was highly rated by the judges as was Liam Hopkins’ combination of traditional handcraft techniques, modern computer-based modelling and pattern cutting using the lightest materials.

    The judges included jeans entrepreneur David Hieatt (Huit Denim), designer Sarah Van Gameren(Glithero) and craft specialist Martina Margetts. The recipient of the award will be announced at a special ceremony at London's ICA on Monday 28th January at the Arts Foundation Futures Awards 2019 when £78,000 of awards will be announced across the Arts, with each of the runners-up receiving £1,000. The other categories for 2019 include Experimental Architecture, Hip Hop Dance, Visual Arts and Poetry.

    The Clothworkers’ Company’s focus is on supporting textiles research, innovation, skills and links with industry; and on fostering wider participation in trusteeship and charity governance. Its sister organisation, The Clothworkers' Foundation, supports charities which are set up to improve the lives of people and communities particularly those facing disadvantage. To date it has awarded grants of more than £130m.

    Image : Hot Wire Extensions by Fabio Hendry