Photo of Ken Stradling with David Miller pot. Copyright

Photo of Ken Stradling with David Miller pot. Copyright

Ken Stradling at 100

12 February – 25 June 2022

This exhibition was the first time we told the full story of Ken Stradling’s extraordinary life through his amazing collection of 20th Century design. It was supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. This exhibition really represented Ken Stradling MBE, his most distinctive personal taste expressed over eighty years of loving, collecting and retailing design and craft.

This exhibition was the product of sixty years spent transforming a small craft shop into the cultural icon that is the Bristol Guild. Sparkling colour from the 60s, witty statements about art and life, the gorgeous earthy textures of craft pottery – it was a wonderful mixture of the elegant one-off art piece and the everyday and ordinary, picked out and given value by Ken. Craft ceramics and glass from people who became his friends accompany high quality furniture and glass imported through visits to Scandinavia, as well as quirky toys and playful pieces which caught his fancy.

Since opening in 2014 the Collection has already inspired makers, students and school children through touching, handling and learning from its amazing variety. This exhibition showed wonderful design, craft and much more, including many pieces from Ken’s own house never shown before.

Free admission, donations welcome

Photo: casserole dish by Timo SarpanevaMarketing Design and Craft in Post War Britain

On Saturday, 5th March 2022, as part of A lifelong passion for design , this seminar examined how institutions and enthusiastic retailers like Ken Stradling worked to bring innovative design to post war Britain and how their selling skills and understanding of their market still have relevance for both makers and retailers today.

Presentations looked at legendary individuals like Muriel Rose who ran the Little GalleryHenry Rothschild of Primavera and Ken Stradling at the Bristol Guild as well as institutional influence such as the Festival of Britain and the Crafts Council.

A lifelong passion for design – a few comments from our visitors’ book

“Happy 100th Ken. You and the Guild have informed my artistic taste since I was a VIth former at Bristol Grammar School.”

“An excellent show, so good to see.”

“Wonderfully curated, lots of local interest.”

“So glad I came – it’s fascinating!”

“Beautifully put together exhibition, so enjoyable and easy to follow, warm and informative story of a remarkable man and his collection!”

“Beautiful! Worth coming all the way from Spain! :)”

“Amazing diverse collection. Thank you for sharing it.”

“Wonderfully documenting life and design in this city.”

“Fascinating exhibition. Thank you.”

“Inspiring collection of design classics – totally original! (Like Ken!)”

“Beyond wonderful – thank you, Ken”

“Better than I could have expected – so much beauty!”

“Fabulous and beautiful! Well worth the visit :)”

“Gorgeous, playful and interesting. Of course I want to bring this all back to mine! Chloe loved it – she is 2.”

“Such great taste, so interesting, such fun!”

“Lovely exhibition. V. interesting modernist exhibits. V. friendly and informed staff. Thanks.”