Craig Bamford

To time with London Craft Week, we are thrilled to introduce our new ‘Maker Muse’ series, in partnership with Hole & Corner - a publication celebrating and promoting creativity, craftsmanship, heritage and authenticity.

Maker Muse Craig Bamford set up SASA Works in 2009 as a workshop based architectural practice embedding the knowledge of traditional craftsmanship and 'hands on processes' into contemporary designs. Through the practice he designs and makes at all scales, sculpture, objects, furniture and much of the architectural spaces. Each scale of work informs the other….Soulful collections and spaces, for the landscape of life

Tell us about your background and your work?

I have always been a maker, deeply informed by place, material and landscape. Making and thinking about sculpture for me is a way of life. I grew up in a rural part of Kenya near the Rift Valley and being able to see the stars, like you can in Africa, formed an early connection with the idea of mystery and balance.

I was also inspired by the expansive landscape and traditional village houses that were made by the ‘hands’ of the family, with materials found locally. There was an evident nurture of these materials to sustain for future generations, impressing in my mind a rich co-existence of man and nature. This essence of the sacred is very evident within African Art - that sacred comes from the idea of coexistence and respect for the natural world integrated with the notion that the process of making comes from a place of the inner consciousness, from the dream. Ideas that I continuously return to.

I was drawn to study the alchemical and physical processes of working with metal. Initially studying jewellery, before specializing in large metal work learning all the techniques of a blacksmith. I then fell in love with wood and architecture whilst working on traditional wooden houses on the east coast of America. This led me to study Architecture in East London, the school was headed by Peter Salter at the time, his approach to architecture was very hands-on, and we were encouraged to make on many scales. I found these years of architecture study very inspiring and informing,

I found myself enquiring about the energies that materials hold, inspired by artists like Joseph Beuys and the idea of animism that each form, object has a life force, this has led to enquiries into spiritual practices and meditation which has also informed and evolved the way I work.

What has been the proudest moment in your career to date?

I am proud of SASA Works, it has been a journey since 2009, taking many twists and turns and evolutions along the way, much helped by my wife and collaborator Isik Sayarer.

I have been able to integrate my making and creative career with a way of life that has brought me so much richness of heart. I have always followed my intuition, which has led me on the journey to explore the idea of turning inward for the answers. It is an ongoing daily work in progress!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given, that you’d pass along to fellow artisans and makers in the world of craft?

To find a way to trust in your intuition and ideas, even if the concept idea seems somewhat abstract to your usual way of thinking….and then just keep going with that idea and it will evolve and evolve…keep trusting that intuitive process… the doubt may rise along the way…it usually does….keep going despite that!

I have found ways of keeping the doubt at bay – by combining my making practice with deepening practices of meditation and a nurturing of stillness. It is important to allow a range of creativity to inspire us, and I still draw and paint alongside the pieces that I make.

Why is Craft important to you?

Craft for me is a way of life. When making something it is impossible to move from A to B in a straight line – instead, the process of craft takes you on the journey through different materials, techniques, thought processes, moving in a meander where along the way you encounter something new, meet somebody different, connect to a particular place, plant, material and learn a whole history of something and arrive with the finished piece enriched by the relationship. In this way living by a Craft enables a sense of spaciousness in everyday life.

How do you style your Marfa Stance and why do you like the brand?

Being a maker, I am constantly thinking about form in aesthetic, functional and ideally life enhancing ways! I like the sculptural thinking behind the Marfa pieces. How this has led to the design detailing to make it reversible and the button on hoods and collars. I love to wear collarless pieces and often cut the collars off jackets to style them in my own way – so having this already in the sensibility and the button holes is a wonderful detail.

The jacket is very well made, and I am sure will last many years and evolve in those years. I like that it can be worn through different seasons as a jacket, but also as an underlayer to a long coat.

In my ideal design / making process there is a quest for visual simplicity when it comes to material junctions – that quest for a seamlessness or that feeling as if the materials were always in that union – that the form naturally becomes at ease or ‘effortless’ or ‘as it should be’. It is never easy to reach that place, it takes a lot of thought and evolution in the design and making process. I feel that the Marfa pieces achieve that.

How would you describe your ‘Hole & Corner’
‘Hole-and-Corner: adj, a secret place or a life lived away from the mainstream’

I always return to this inner vision that I have had with me all my life, of a small cabin amongst boulders on a piece of dry land with a smell of wild herbs. This is an image that often returns to me in my meditations.

Photographer: Sam Walton

About Hole and Corner

Hole & Corner was launched in Dorset in 2013 as a publication celebrating and promoting creativity, craftsmanship, heritage and authenticity.

The name is inspired by an old English phrase:‘Hole-and-Corner: adj, a secret place or a life lived away from the mainstream’It is about people who spend more time doing than talking, for whom content is more important than style; whose work is their life. It’s about telling stories of dedication.

Hole & Corner magazine is published biannually, dedicated to stories of craft, beauty, passion and skill. It is distributed internationally, with stockists including Do You Read Me?! in Berlin, Athenaeum Niewscentrum in Amsterdam and 300 Barnes & Noble stores in the US.

The online site offers regular news, recommendations and interviews with those who embody the Hole & Corner lifestyle – and offers the opportunity to buy products from our featured makers or join them at live events where you can see their unique skills up close and even try your hand at workshops and learn from the best.

In 2023, Hole & Corner is celebrating its 10th birthday, and what a lot there is to celebrate.