LaTrobe-Bateman, Richard (7 of 10) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts' Lives

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  • Subjects

    Furniture making

  • Recording date

    2005-04-12, 2005-04-21, 2005-05-06, 2005-05-23

  • Recording locations

    interviewee's home, Somerset

  • Interviewees

    La Trobe-Bateman, Richard, 1938 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Hughes, Hawksmoor (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: Description of RLTB’s involvement with craft organisations: joining the council of the British Crafts Centre, becoming chair of the Crafts Council index selection committee, joining the Crafts Council. Remarks on feeling uncomfortable being part of the establishment. Comments on the crafts attracting few talented makers and large numbers of low calibre makers. Comments on Victor Margrie’s distancing of the crafts from a sentimental corn dolly image. Description of RLTB’s opinion that the crafts needed also to be distanced from the luxury market, mentions John Makepeace [JM], Rupert Williamson, (Martin) Grierson, Alan Peters and Sandy MacKilligin Comments on disliking snobbery. Description of RLTB’s criticism of JM’s work. Description of RLTB’s teaching career, description of teaching at San Diego State University and in Loughborough University (1989-1994). Remarks on teaching students to make furniture not arty objects. Story about RLTB’s involvement with Scientology and his subsequent wariness of indoctrinating students, mentions Chris Depoir who became Father Lucius. Comments on the corrupt management of the furniture course at Loughborough prior to RLTB teaching there. [30:00] Further description of Crafts Council Index Committee meetings: story about looking at musical instruments with Anthony Rooley, Comparison between musical instruments and a Walter Keeler’s Mick Casson’s jugs, remarks on not dealing with rural crafts, mentions David Drew. Description of feeling disenchanted with the craft/art field. Mentions Fred Bayer’s design ability. RLTB’s opinion of IKEA furniture, remarks on the need for furniture be more than cheap and functional. Description of RLTB’s household furnishings, mentions chairs by David Colwell, a table by Gary Knox-Bennett, objects by Jim Partridge, David Pye, Louis Wolpole, Jenny Crisp, Johnny Leach, Walter Keeler, Sandy Brown and Takeshi Yasuda, remarks how knowing the maker enriches one’s relationship with the objects. Long description of RLTB’s ash dresser made by himself. Definition of the words ‘stress’ and ‘strain’. Description of RLTB’s interest in materials, structures and economy, and the lack of critical interest in these elements in the crafts arena. Description of the design requirements in a bridge: economy and structure. Story about making a bridge for an exhibition at Contemporary Applied Arts gallery (1987), mentions Tatiana Marsden. Mentions the inclusion of RTLB’s bridges in Tanya Harrod’s ‘The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century’, and in Martina Margett’s ‘Objects of Our Time’. Description of the bridge. Comments on the legal and planning constraints on bridge building. Description of RLTB’s forefathers’ professions as architects and engineers, mentions Benjamin La Trobe, designers on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad,. Remarks on using a Fink truss.

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