On Saturday 5 March, speakers from Newcastle, Brighton, Farnham and Cambridge came to Arnolfini on Saturday to celebrate Ken Stradling’s extraordinary talent in his 100th year and the wonderful Bristol Guild. Together with an enthusiastic audience, they explored how design and craft became part of our shopping lives after the Second World War. Ken came into a landscape formed by little craft galleries like Muriel Rose’s Little Gallery, public earnestness in the form of the Design and Industries Association and the Council of Industrial Design, and bold retailers like Henry Rothschild in Cambridge and the New Craftsmen in St Ives. Also, for the first time, part of the Crafts Council’s history in the 70s was remembered by its first deputy director, now retired and living in Clevedon.
It was more than a trip down memory lane though: popularising design, and Ken’s passion for helping people to love it, was at the heart of the day. This aspiration continues at the Stradling Collection in Park Row which is currently showing just how gorgeous it can be through Ken’s centenary exhibition.