I was lucky to be able to fit in a trip to Farnham in the first week of the year before Fred Baier’s exhibition at The Crafts Study Centre museum at the University for Creative Arts finished.
Fred Baier is an artist-craftsman who goes to places furniture designer-makers, like myself, have never been to or have even never imagined! The work is provocative and challenging, yet familiar. He combines very recognisable elemental shapes (cones, torus, cubes, etc) with bold-coloured woods and highly lacquered surfaces. His forms are sculptural and bold, yet highly refined and functional.
His work contrasts dramatically with the likes of me who remain wedded to the Arts & Crafts philosophy (we produce furniture that looks like furniture!). Yet, despite the difference it was a humbling experience to see his work first hand (images are a crude substitute by comparison). It wasn’t just beautifully made, imaginatively adventurous and visually stunning, it was also mathematically accomplished, superbly engineered and technically sophisticated. James Willis, my assistant, called Fred an “inventor” and he does have the persona of a wacky genius! -;)