The winner of this year’s Loewe Craft Prize was finally announced – and that is artist Dahye Jeong – and she is being honoured in a new location. The Craft Prize honours artistic merit and originality in the field of modern craftsmanship, and this year, it received over three thousand submissions from artists in one hundred and sixteen countries. Before the pandemic, the ceremony in which the winner was announced, as well as the exhibition featuring works from the finalists, was held at Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. During the pandemic, the competition shifted to a virtual format, showcasing works from finalists on a digital platform called The Room. This year, the competition returned to an in-person format, and was held at the Seoul Museum of Craft Arts, which is Korea’s first museum dedicated to Korean crafts.
So it’s very fitting that the winner of this year’s competition is native to Korea. A resident of Jeju (Korea), Dahye Jeong’s prize-winning submission, named A Time of Sincerity, was a basket that she wove from fine horse hair. She did so by using a 500-year-old hat making technique that was long believed to have been lost, and was recognised for reviving and updating the tradition. The jury also recognized two artists who received special mentions, South African ceramics artist Andile Dyalvane and German jewellerymaker Julia Obermaier. Dyalvane sculpted a red earthenware coiled vessel inspired by Xhosa culture called Cornish Wall, while Obermaier constructed gems made from rock crystal and stainless steel, in a piece called Verborgen.

Jeong, Dyalvane, and Obermaier were selected out of a pool of thirty finalists, hailing from fifteen different countries. Among those shortlisted were Vera Siemund, another German jewellerymaker who crafts jewellery with bells, Gothic architecture-inspired ornaments, and other interesting designs. Another standout was textile artist Ivory Coast native Peter McCarthy, whose multicoloured, interwoven patch of sewn zippers celebrates the beauty in imperfection. And Mel Douglas, hailing from Australia, who questions the separation of drawing and objects by using the aesthetics of drawing to understand glass. All of these artists’ works are available to view in person at the Seoul Museum of Craft Arts, as well as through the digital exhibition on the Loewe Foundation’s website.
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