Frail Collection


Can traditional craft inspire contemporary design? Increasingly sophisticated mass production techniques have pushed several heritage crafts to extinction. The result of this is an abundance of choices for consumers, while at the same time, the products lose individuality and quality. The project explores the possibility of traditional craft inspiring contemporary design to produce original, high-quality products.

Frail collection is an expanding range of products made of English freshwater rush (Scirpus lacustris. Schoeneplectus) using techniques inspired by the rush frail, a critically endangered heritage basket. Rush frails were the traditional English farmer’s lunch basket or workman’s tool bag. The project proposes contemporary applications for the skills and techniques used in rush frail making through design intervention. The outcome includes flat as well as three-dimensional, stand-alone as well as suspended, functional as well as sculptural products to demonstrate the versatility of the techniques.

Traditional craft may be seen as irrelevant today, but the skills and techniques involved are endless sources of inspiration for contemporary design.