A Ketel Boiling with Ideas: Vodka Meets Art

By a woman smiling holding a drink in black and white Emily Gray |
2nd May 2019

Normally we combine our vodka with plenty of lime, but in May we’re going to be combining it with art in a celebration of unique style and skill at London Craft Week.

Following the success of the Ketel One commission last year, the vodka legends have once more joined forces with Sarabande Foundation to create two pieces of artwork inspired by the core Ketel One principles of care, craftsmanship and community.

Lee Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation, of which Ketel One is one of the founding partners, supports the most visionary future creators, helping to fund their studies, subsidise their studios and they host an extensive programme of events. And this year the two artists who have been chosen are globally recognised artist and engraver Castro Smith and jewellery artist, Esna Su.

But how do you go about creating an artwork inspired by Ketel One? First of all, Esna Su and Castro Smith went to the Nolet family distillery in Schiedam to see just how the generations have been distilling vodka for the last 327 years. Important research.

Then taking the themes of tradition, passion, craftsmanship and heritage the pair went on to create their works. Esna Su started with wheat as an integral part of both life and the distillation process. Using 11 stems of wheat made from copper thread she will create a sculpture that represents the 11 generations of the Nolet family. Beneath the stems will be 327 porcelain wheat grains that symbolise the years that the family has been creating vodka and the Turkish crochet method that she will use to plait it together is a technique she has learnt from her mother and grandmother, echoing the heritage and knowledge passed down through the generations.

Meanwhile Castro Smith has created a more contemporary piece, a hand engraved vessel, that will explore the creative journey of an object. Reflecting the different techniques that Ketel One uses, Smith will embrace unique skills and materials from across cultures (as well as engraving and hammering), in a nod to the Nolet family’s dedication to sourcing the best ingredients and suppliers.

For London Craft Week 2019 Sarabande will also be building replicas of Castro Smith and Esna Su’s working studios giving you an insight into the journeys that the duo has taken as they have created each piece.

Rather than hiding these pieces away only to be seen by the artistic circles, they will both be on display as part of the London Craft Week. And you can see them for free alongside the replicas of the working studios at ‘A Ketel Boiling with Ideas’ exhibition at Sarabande Foundation between the 8th and 12th May.

For further information and to book a free place click here.

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