Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Ed Cruikshank Design Legacy

There is an unmistakable timelessness about Queenstown furniture designer Ed Cruikshank’s work. Often understated and always beautiful it is crafted from natural tactile materials and built to get better with use and the passage of time spanning generations. 

Ed’s creative journey and lifelong passion for fine craftsmanship and beauty began in England where he trained as a craftsman in Oxford and then as a designer in London. 

“I remained in London for ten years working closely with David Linley (now Snowdon), a cousin of king Charles III, creating some of the world’s finest custom furniture until 1999 when an Auckland-built Linley yacht project became the waka that brought me to Queenstown.”

His custom pieces range from precious treasure chests and jewellery boxes to bespoke dining tables, cabinets and full interiors.

Much of this work is for private homes in Queenstown while he also creates special pieces for hotels and lodges including Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Matakauri Lodge and The Rees, retail stores such as Louis Vuitton and commercial projects like the Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney which commissioned an eight-metre Braille-inscribed boardroom table.

Ed Cruikshank

Since 2010 Ed has explored themes of communication embedding Braille into his furniture to spark intrigue via recognisable yet unreadable messages. 

‘We live in an age of soundbites that demand immediate, usually polarised responses. My Braille work explores communication, curiosity and a gentle unfurling of hidden meaning that encourages constructive conversation and deeper understanding. People desperately want to understand the Braille and I get to gradually reveal the meaning in a way that introduces the ethos and purpose behind my work.”

“My work is underpinned by a desire to foster connection through objects and spaces that explore deeper meaning and inspire conversations that matter. Better communication leads to deeper understanding and connection. When we feel connected we are more understanding and compassionate and that creates more harmonious relationships.”

 While furniture remains his first love with his pieces increasingly commissioned and collected as functional art Ed launched his first distinctive wall hanging art in 2023 with expression its only function. Entitled Weapons of Mass Connection the early ethereal one-offs are crafted from Walnut, steel and brass – the traditional materials of firearms first seen in his 2010 Braille inscribed 1821 table.

“I use them to make the point that we always have a choice. I choose to make objects that connect, unify and inspire tolerance and peace in the world.” 

Fostering Arts and Crafts Education

The Ed Cruikshank Creative Scholarship Fund operates under the umbrella of the Wakatipu Community Foundation to foster arts and crafts education in Queenstown.

“I have benefited immensely from the mentorship of teachers, lecturers, employers, craftsmen, artists and friends during my career,” says Ed. “They inspired my passion for beauty, creative thinking, technical innovation, craftsmanship and deeper meaning.”

His goal is to promote creative potential and opportunities in the local community through art scholarships and funding new or existing initiatives via local art organisations. Ed personally donates a portion of his art and sales to the fund annually and encourages others to support it. 

To donate – email jennifer@wakatipucommunityfoundation.org