The first annual London Craft Week was held May 6th – 10th, 2015 and kicked off city-wide journey to the roots of creativity in London. This new event’s mission is to “put craftsmanship at the center stage of the world’s creative capital.”
London Craft Week celebrated contemporary craft and the artwork of lesser-known makers and established brands at shops, studios, and galleries in various locations throughout London – from Southwark, Holborn, and Knightsbridge, to Picadilly Circus, and Farrington.
Contributor to The Kindcraft Nathalie Dattelkremer visited Crafted at Fortum and Mason department store, met with makers at The Crafted City Pavillion (left) and visited the Contemporary Applied Arts gallery. She also toured open studios at Cockpit Arts. Nathalie was inspired by the combination of individuality, imagination, and skill behind the work on display at London Craft Week. Join The Kindcraft for a tour of selected events…
CRAFTED AT FORTNUM AND MASON
The Fortnum & Mason Picadilly store curated a showcase of 28 craftsmen alumni from the Walpole Crafted mentoring program featuring ceramics, glass, jewelry, paper, silver, wood, and a focus on British millinery. Milliner Katherine Elizabeth shared a variety of pieces that each take one or two days to make by hand.
Luxury brands like Ghurka and Ettinger showcased their new collections at Crafted at Fortnum and Mason. Ettinger’s hand-stitched wallets are beautifully executed in a variety of colors based on British Pound notes. The new signature brand color is called London Tan, which will be incorporated in their new bag collection launching in September. All Ettinger products bear the royal stamp that was first approved by the Prince of Wales in 1997.
Bailey Tomlin showcased insect-inspired hats and pins. Her work involves carefully observing her surroundings in nature, then creating the essence of what she perceived. Her work includes various natural elements like real feathers.
THE CRAFTED CITY PAVILION
Crafted City’s Southwark pop up pavilion – made from birch marine ply boxes – created a space for creative discussion with artists such as Robert Cooper and Sue Paraskeva, who demonstrated the making and smashing of her porcelain pieces. The gentle smashing is done against painted wood pieces which helps her achieve special shapes while the porcelain is still drying. Then, she burns her work with gas which offsets the color. Sue commented that her process involves letting go of any tension and control, which allows for the work of art to happen.
Many of Robert’s Cooper’s ceramic designs were made from found objects along the Thames River, including porcelain pieces from past centuries. Each candleholder holds a history of its own.
The Crafted City Pavilion exhibited many other artists including woodturner Ray Key, ceramics by Dylan Bowen, and mixed-media jeweler Lina Peterson, who is from Sweden but living and working in London.
CONTEMPORARY APPLIED ARTS GALLERY
The Contemporary Applied Arts gallery created a new exhibition for Craft Week. Curated by Matt Smith, Polly Harknett, and Caitlin Heffernan, the exhibition explored the significance of art works in different contextual settings. Created by the members of CAA, the crafted pieces were part of the series titled “Leaving Home” which revolved around putting the art pieces in a different spaces in order to navigate the changing contexts and journeys of the works.
COCKPIT ARTS OPEN STUDIOS
As part of London Craft week, Cockpit Arts opened its studio doors for visitors to meet the 170 talented makers that are part of their craft-business incubator for designer-makers. One of their two locations is a three-story building in Holborn, where visitors had a chance to enter each designer’s studio space. The event showcased textiles, jewellery, glass, ceramics, and wood objects.
The Kindcraft loved the textured sculptural designs of Eleanor Lakelin whose wood expertise goes back to when she was a furniture maker. Elanor works her pieces in a variety of ways to achieve the desired shape and color. Some of her methods include leaving the wood wet for many months, drying it inside a bag with shavings and then reworking it. In order for the wood to work, it needs to be completely dry and without fungus – but if fungus forms, she takes it to her advantage and highlights the colors.
Elenor’s carving skills have a splendid finish, making certain wood pieces feel so smooth that visitors don’t even believe it is wood. “I study the condition of the piece of wood and follow where this leads me; only when I peel back the layers do I discover what lies underneath.” It is a wonderful journey to understand her craft.
Emma Yeo creates luxury hand-crafted millinery and fashion accessories. She primarily works with wood and brass to sculpt a contemporary looks using the skills of a classic craft. Her latest work features brass etching and laser cut wood, as seen in the incredible wooden head piece below.
Other designs were created by jeweler Annabelle Lucilla, ceramicist Kerry Hastings, textile designer Beatrice Larkin, ceramicist Loli Cardenoso, and Maria Hatling – a quirky multimedia artist and designer from Norway.