Did you go to London Craft Week last week? There were some wonderful events and inspiring workshops hosted by designers and retailers all over the capital. Over the last few years this spring celebration has seen craft elevated in status by artisans and craftspeople who not only make beautiful items but also show how you can make a living by creating. The Burberry Makers House we recently featured is a good example of elevated craft. Our out-and-about reporter Julia Little reports on some of the highlights for us.
London Craft Week has just completed its 3rd year and if you haven’t been before, make sure you put it in your diary for next year. It is fantastic, and this year there were some really special things to see and do.
The annual event showcases the best of international and British creativity and craftsmanship, with a curated programme of making, design, fashion, art, luxury, food, culture and shopping.
Vivienne Westwood’s boutique had an exclusive haute-couture showcase exploring the artistry and making behind the famous corset. There was a talk at Women’s Wear Daily on Making & Fashion, discussing creative processes, technical skills and the challenges of building an independent business.
A craft and heritage exhibition at Burberry and excellent screen printing process discussions at The Royal Academy of Arts. Designer Alice Archer and blogger Susie Bubble discussed digital embroidery and commissioning a dress. There were handpainted, monogrammed leather goods at Connolly, mindful textiles with Selvedge Magazine and The Future of Ceramics at The Kiln Rooms. In conversations with Grayson Perry, Margaret Howell….. this is just a small selection of over 200 things going on in London over the week and weekend.
I booked a tour of Neisha Crosland’s studio. Neisha’s patterns and designs are well known for their beautiful colours, geometric symmetry and impeccable attention to balance and proportion. Her products range from fabric, wallpaper, rugs, tiles and stationery.
Neisha chatted warmly about her story and her designs as well as the creative and commercial process. Her home in SW London, houses her office, archive room, working studio and a small trade sales room. Talk about studio envy! Walls were covered in designs, patterns, sketches and pieces of embroidery, all part of her ever evolving collections. Neisha explained that so many designs followed through to the next, in the creative process. “There are endless possibilities”, she said, “I never run out of ideas”. Her beautiful new book “Life of A Pattern” is an artwork in itself.
‘Our House, A Home For All’ at Selfridges, curated by our friends at The New Craftsmen, was a peaceful and immersive ‘home’ experience, showing a pre-digital time when home rituals and making simple things well were the heart of life.
The space centred around a huge table used for demonstrating natural fabric dying, making sourdough and preserves and simple embroidery. Amanda and I joined the Stitch and Play, where we gathered around a large quilt to create patterns in thread, sharing conversation and skills with others, a truly communal experience.
I’ve watched London Craft Week develop into a really elegant and well organised programme of events. Do go next year, you won’t be disappointed.
More about the events can be found here. Below is a brief list of some of the artisan makers products.