In an age when everything from your phone to your furniture is often mass-produced in automated factories on the other side of the world, and a large proportion of working life is spent at a desk in front of a screen, there is something refreshingly visceral about using your hands and making something from scratch.
Lockdown provided many of us with the opportunity to do just that, whether it was trying to bake sourdough bread for the first time or a tentative go at sewing a cushion cover. Of course, many of us have already found the craft we love and spent years honing it, while others make their living doing something that calls for expert craftsmanship in all sorts of disciplines. This issue of Overseas is dedicated to those people and their expertise.
We speak to ROSL Executive Chef Elliot Plimmer about how he came to love food, and what it takes to prepare a dish, a meal, and a whole menu. Keeping it in the ROSL family, we also hear from Membership Executive Beth Colley, who combines her work at the club with her career as a successful art director and set designer on theatre productions, music videos, and more.
Many of the entrants to ROSL’s Annual Music Competition (AMC) rely on expertly crafted instruments to allow their technical ability and musicality shine through. Leading violinmaker Helen Michetschlager tells Abi Millar about the traditional techniques involved in hand crafting a high-quality violin.
ROSL has a long-standing connection to the Royal College of Art thanks to the Overseas Prize at the AMC. Natalie Healey discovers from the Glass & Ceramics Department’s Felicity Aylieff and Steve Brown, who guide the next generation of artists, the combination of artistry and craftsmanship needed to create ceramic masterpieces. With Jermyn Street just a stone’s throw from the clubhouse, members are spoilt for choice when it comes to tailoring. Menswear designer and tailor Scott Fraser Simpson tells us about the process of creating a piece of clothing, from design through to construction and fitting.
Elsewhere, Abi Millar speaks to prop designer Andy Fordham, who has worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest productions. Although the world building of motion pictures is so often achieved via CGI today, she finds out how there is still a place for the expert craft of prop design to bring a film to life.
I hope you enjoy hearing from all these craftspeople, plus all the usual news and events from the clubhouse and around the world, available on 1 September.