Borne out of a passion for design led arts and crafts, First Of March is built around a community of exceptional, independent artist and designer makers living and working in Wales: they are our raison d’etre, without whom, there would be no First of March.
So why First Of March? - a question I’ve been asked by many people and in many contexts over the last three years. The answer is at once simple and complex - deser ving of a conversation to uncover the many layers and nuances behind our company name and logo.
As with any name that feels right there is a sense that it discovered us. After many working titles, ‘post it’ notes and flow charts, the name emerged while we were focusing on something completely different!
A proudly Welsh company, we wanted our name to connect meaningfully with our values, Wales and our unique community of Makers. And for many, especially those with a Welsh connection or heritage, First Of March resonates as a day of celebration: of St David, our Patron Saint, and of Wales. It is a day when our connection to Welsh tradition and culture is felt most keenly and when the stories of Wales are remembered, celebrated and shared across the world. It is a day full of Hiraeth, Hwyl and Cynefin.
So in three small words First Of March embodies our dream to create a unique community, to celebrate and tell a new cultural story of Wales through the exquisite and timeless design and craftsmanship of its master craftsmen and women.
But first and foremost, March 1st is a celebration of David - archbishop and leader of men, who, to fulfil his mission, travelled beyond the borders of Wales. This same passion and ambition lies at the heart of First Of March and our community of Makers. ‘First’ among their peers, our Makers share our desire to connect and collaborate with communities across the world, in the telling of a contemporary, world class story of Wales and its craftsmanship.
Echoing David’s simple life, this is a story where less is more, where every detail is considered and nothing is superfluous: where simplicity of line or style belies the complexity of making and the skill which guides the Maker’s hand. It is a story faithful to the traditions of craft and joyful of its beauty - and that is Craftsmanship lies at the heart of First Of March. When developing the concept, we were conscious of wanting to create a separation between the “hobby” maker and the master crafters who pursue their passion with a skill faithful to its ancient traditions and honed through a lifetime’s commitment to achieving excellence.
Our Makers are a unique and small community but one that is, in many ways, under threat. While there is an increased global interest in craft, there is a shared concern about the role and future of high-end, luxury craft in a world focused on reduced consumption, carbon-neutral production and zero net emissions.
How can the master craftsman or woman compete with the thrill of “experience”, where the memory of doing is purported to be stronger than the desire to “own”? Where “‘luxury” is tainted by the 20th century baggage of excess and extravagance?
Where immediate and instant satisfaction often trumps anticipation and enduring pleasure?
From our inception, we have sought to challenge these perceptions and nurture those who share our values. We are striving to create a space for craftsmanship to thrive, where our Makers can take their rightful place as guardians of sustainability and heritage, standing as a bulwark against a fast-consumption, mass-production, throwaway society.
In doing so, we look beyond toolkits, action plans and targets to redefine experience and luxury, and hold onto something valuable and vital – what makes us human.