The Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection

Hand-selected by Anthony Bourdain, The Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection brings five remarkable craftspeople together to showcase their creative process, personal stories and finished crafts like never before.

For the first time, we’re inviting you inside their workshops to meet the makers at the forefront of America’s craft movement and take an exclusive look at Anthony Bourdain’s take on craft as curator of The Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection.

Throughout the collection tour, Anthony Bourdain will be making surprise appearances. While you might not meet him personally, all guests who attend The Collection will see him discuss his selection process, enjoy guided tastings from The Balvenie Distillery, sample rare single barrel whiskies straight from the cask, and receive a special memento of the event.

Don’t miss this remarkable collection as it comes to a city near you.

Register here

A Word from Anthony Bourdain

I’ve said it before, cream rises. Excellence does have its rewards. And I believe the pieces and people I’ve chosen for the Collection are right at the top with the finest craftspeople in America today.

It’s easy to see the pride and love these craftspeople put into their work. Easy to see the years of practice they’ve put in. Easy to see the respect they have for their chosen medium. Practicing a craft in expert fashion is noble, honorable, and satisfying. And I, for one, am glad they’ve chosen to follow their passion to a point where the work they create is worth talking about.

I hope you can join The Balvenie and me on the road this year during the Rare Craft Collection tour. And raise a dram for giving a damn about what we create.

Regards,

Anthony Bourdain

Curator, The Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection

MEGAN O’CONNELL

ELIZABETH BRIM

SEBASTIAN MARTORANA

ROLAND MURPHY

IAN MCDONALD

MEGAN O’CONNELL

Letterpress | Michigan

www.saltandcedar.com

An artist-driven letterpress shop in the heart of Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, Salt & Cedar began in 2012 as the magnum opus of internationally acclaimed artist and designer Megan O’Connell.  Before calling Detroit her home, O’Connell studied, and eventually taught, every aspect of letterpress and bookmaking, from hand-compositing type to operating an Alexandra or Albion cast iron hand press—a machine fundamentally unchanged since the Renaissance.

At the center of her work is an ethos that engages the printing press as an incubator of ideas, and a gateway into principles, priorities and historical production modes of a former time.  For the Collection, O’Connell will demonstrate this notion as she crafts a triptych encompassing a barley stalk engraving, which pays homage to The Balvenie’s home-malted barley.

MEGAN O’CONNELL

ELIZABETH BRIM

Metalsmith | North Carolina

Working from her workshop in North Carolina, metalsmith and teacher Elizabeth Brim’s feminine works have reinvigorated traditional blacksmithing.  A native of Columbus, Georgia, she graduated with a MFA in printmaking before studying and working with a variety of materials at the Penland School of Crafts.  But fate is a fickle mistress.  One day, between cooking in Penland’s kitchen and studying metal, Brim found herself hammering railroad bolts into tools at the forge.  It was challenging to say the least.  Yet quite unexpectedly, she fell in love with this new medium.

With a unique juxtaposition of the feminine and the ferrous, Brim masterfully transforms the frilly dresses, fairy tales and gender expectations of her childhood into remarkable works of social commentary.  Her acclaimed oeuvre comprises an apron and dress, handbags, and—most notably—her spiked steel high heels that are featured at the Collection.

ELIZABETH BRIM

SEBASTIAN MARTORANA

Sculptor | Maryland

www.sebastianworks.com

From a passion born while studying the artistic masterpieces of Florence, Italy, Sebastian Martorana approaches his stonework as interplay between the persons, environs, and material objects shaping our lives.  Working from his studio at the Hilgartner Natural Stone Company, America’s oldest operational stone company, Sebastian evokes a sense of shared experiences to create a narrative, or portrait, in his works, documenting the essence of an individual.

The series Sebastian brings to the Collection centers on a number of his own work gloves, and revolves around a recurring discussion regarding the relationship between art and craft, namely, the degree to which the “Hand of the Artist” is or is not present in the finished piece of work.

SEBASTIAN MARTORANA

ROLAND MURPHY

Watch Maker | Pennsylvania

www.rgmwatches.com

Driven by a passion for all things mechanical, American watchmaker Roland G. Murphy founded RGM in 1992 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, an area with a rich history of watchmaking.  His love for timepieces began in high school, where he worked half days delicately piecing together clockworks for the local cabinet shop.  It was a love that would lead him, in 1986, to perfect his craft with master watchmakers in Switzerland.

Murphy’s approach to watchmaking involves a unique combination of a master’s hand and a centuries-old technique known as engine-turning, or Guilloche, that today involves the use of antique machines to engrave delicate patterns on metal watch components.  The fruits of this craft, nearly lost to history, are found adorning all manner of RGM’s timeless pieces, such as those here today.

ROLAND MURPHY

IAN MCDONALD

Head Cooper | Scotland

www.thebalvenie.com

A native of the small highland village of Dufftown, Scotland, home of The Balvenie Distillery, Ian McDonald’s interest in the ancient craft of coopering flowered at the young age of 15 when his love of wood and metalwork at school led him to pursue an apprenticeship at the local cooperage.  Forty-six years later, he’s still at it.

On any given day, in one of the last onsite cooperages in the world, The Balvenie’s Head Cooper meticulously oversees the daunting task of building, maintaining and charring the distillery’s barrels.  Shunning efficiency for traditional tools and centuries-old practices, Ian and his team of experienced coopers allow only the finest oak casks to enter The Balvenie warehouses—casks which profoundly influence the flavors of our whisky.

IAN MCDONALD