Fred Baier, craftsman
“Fred Baier’s work is sometimes described as demonstrating the principle that “form swallows function”. However, what Baier does is what Henry Moore did on the seashore. Moore found objects he could later twist into sculpture. Baier uses the computer to turn up three-dimensional forms from the seashore of mathematics.”
– Peter Dormer
“The trajectory of his career is set against the world of craft from the mid-1970s to the present day, and adventures with materials, computer aided design, science and art are situated in a shifting landscape of private galleries, luxury commissions, Crafts Council patronage and more recently collaborative public art commissions.”
– Penny Jones
On the occasion of Brighton College of Art’s 150th anniversary in 2009, Fred wrote:
“Brighton College of Art permeates my life. Attending a private view of Helen Frik’s work recently I caught up with several other pals from Brighton days: Nick Pope and Keith Coventry among them. Several of my closest friends, including my wife, Lucy Strachan, my next door neighbour, Miles Davis, and my graphic designer, Moira Bogue, are from the time I taught there (1977 to 1980). In a couple of weeks my daughter Billie sets off to start on the BA 3D Materials Practice: Wood, Metal, Ceramics and Plastics) course to study jewellery.
“At Brighton I threw pebbles at the beached Athena B and watched as the Red Arrows’ plane crashed into the sea. My studio was in Tichbourne Street but I was asked to cover for a colleague. I moved into the wood studio and worked there in order that it could stay open for the students. During those three years I made the boardroom table for Templeton College Oxford (50 panels veneered on the old college vacuum press), most of the furniture for one of the Roxy Music band members and won the Sunday Telegraph Craftsman of the Year award. I started a design partnership with my Royal College of Art (RCA) pal Chris Rose, who was eventually to lead three-dimensional design and materials practice at Brighton.
“Over the years I have been asked back to Grand Parade to give lectures to architecture, post graduate design and foundation students, key note speeches in the Sallis Benny Hall and had pieces in exhibitions at Grand Parade. Hove Museum purchased a piece of mine to reflect my connections with the town. Recently I had a public commission through West Sussex in Crawley and was allotted a mentee, Will Hardie, as an assistant. Will had been a student on the WMPC course and was an invaluable sidekick. We made a 13 ton sculpture together.”
Fred Baier, 2009