LONDON CRAFT WEEK (3-7 May) is an annual event that showcases exceptional craftsmanship through a journey-of-discovery programme featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands.
I write a few paragraphs each year about London Craft Week (LCW) but third time around I think this needs to extend to a good few pages as this timely show has grown beyond all expectations. The classy brochure landed this week with 120 pages covering over 200 events, which are gathered together in one place for one magical week. Here’s a quick edit.
Gilding first captured my imagination when reading about Clare Mosley’s Parisian apartment in Elle Decoration. I wanted to move in with her Eglomise glass gilded objects. If you want to explore gilding at LCW then head to OCHRE on Thursday 4 May, 3.30-4.30pm where Helen Chislett is in conversation with OCHRE and master gilder Katharine Knight. Katharine shows the stages of traditional water gilding and gold leaf technique on OCHRE’s new Surya light. This is the most beautiful and skillful of all the applied gold leaf techniques. The light has a hand-turned green oak shade where the natural cracks of the timber enhanced by slithers of 22-carat gold inspired by the ancient art of Kintsugi.
If you have a passion for process and in particular the lost-wax casting technique then you have something in common with Christopher and Nicola Cox, who continue to push the boundaries of materials: bronze; silver; wrought iron; blown glass and cast stone. These designer-makers talk to journalist Henrietta Thompson on Wednesday 3 May at 5pm, discussing how to commission handmade lighting and furniture. Take a design journey from the inspirations, original drawings and artisan techniques to the finished limited-edition piece.
Why slow design matters is answered at FRONT who believe that waiting a few months for a bespoke rug is something to be celebrated. Discover the techniques, materials and processes behind the most sought after rugs in the world. Writer and author Emma Crichton-Miller and FRONT’s Creative Director Aigars Zelmenis discuss how to commission handmade rugs by award-winning designers Jan Kath, Michaela Schleypen and Zoe Luyendijk on Thursday 4 May, 6.30 -7.30pm.
Design writer Barbara Chandler works with leading creative agency Design-Nation to present an exhibition of work by over twenty of their members. The exhibition runs from 4-7 May and is themed around marks and tools of the maker. It includes Margo Selby’s woven artworks. Don’t miss Barbara’s in conversation with Margo Selby, Michael Ruh and Hannah Tounsend.
Margo Selby is a champion of British craft whose experimental approach to woven textiles has won her world acclaim. One area that Margo is most excited by is her ‘paintings with yarn’. These are hand-woven artworks using a technique called Lampas, which she learnt at Atelier National D’Art Textile in Paris. Recently the scale and ambition of these designs has developed into larger scale framed artworks. Each piece displays her fascination with the interaction between colour, proportion, texture and weave.
Neisha Crosland’s distinctive designs for textiles, wallpaper, rugs, flooring, tiles, homes and fashion, have won her international fame. At LCW she talks pattern to Lucie Hague, founder of online platform Beyond Bespoke, and takes guests on a special behind-the scenes tour of her private studio, garden and home. Glean an insight into the evolution of a pattern, from an idea through the creative process to the finished product and receive a signed copy of her new book ‘Life of a Pattern’ on Thursday 4 May, 10am-12pm and 2-4pm.
In her story in Sunday times Home, Katrina Burroughs commented that ‘in the era of “buying less but better” craft is king.’
Fall under the spell of the handmade here
Visionary designer–makers Nicola and Christopher Cox are causing a sculptural stir around the Pimlico Road circles where they have opened their first London showroom on Ebury Street. Serpent heads, surreal forests and oak leaves are just a few signature features. Part sculpture, part furniture, these are interior art pieces with functional roles to play.
‘We want our pieces to be beautiful and intriguing. The work is becoming increasingly experimental drawing together all the influences that inspire and motivate us, of which the possibilities are endless.’
Their inspiration often comes from the natural world and the history of art -from antiquity to modernism. But what unites each piece is a fascination with materials and a passion for process. Each creation infused with inventiveness and rooted with a deep knowledge of traditional techniques.
How fabulous that we can now see and touch these pieces first hand in one of London’s most creative art, antiques and interior hubs.
‘We are designer-makers whose work is craft-orientated, sculpture based and infused with historical references. Nicola and I are sculptors and from the third generation of an antique dealing family.
We have always been in love with The Pimlico Road. For nearly 40 years it has been home to the most interesting art and antique dealers alongside exceptional Interior decorators. The Pimlico road is a great showcase the for the finest British design and craftsmanship.’
The essence of the space is to showcase contemporary sculptural furniture and lighting designed and made in London by Nicola and Christopher Cox and their specialist team of artisans. New pieces include lost wax cast bronze furniture and lighting, sculpted by the duo and cast by their team.
Cox London is part of London Craft Week with a special event that explores how to commission handmade furniture and lighting as well as undertaking private commissions. Telegraph Luxury design columnist and Wallpaper* editor at large Henrietta Thompson will be in conversation with Cox London on Wednesday 3 May, 5-6pm. Booked tickets via the London Craft Week website HERE.
Fine Cell Work has a pop-up shop next door to Pentreath & Hall as part of London Design Week. Do support this pioneering and progressive cause.
Fine Cell Work trains prisoners to do commercial needlework in their cells, and textiles training in prison workshops to foster hope, discipline and employability. Working in 30 prisons across the UK, they work with 250 prisoners at any one time. Work has been exhibited by the V&A, commissioned by English Heritage and the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince of Wales.
Over to Fine Cell Work to tell you about its latest pop up.
‘Pentreath & Hall rent out this pop-up space to like-minded, creatives and makers with a curiosity for the world of shop keeping and they have generously donated the space to FCW.
Pentreath & Hall is one of the most unusual and exciting shops in London and we are honoured to have this opportunity to be next door to them for a short while. For many visitors it is a destination but for some, the tiny shop on Rugby Street is a place discovered unexpectedly, tucked away in a quiet street of beautiful early Georgian houses in one of the loveliest hidden corners of London and amongst one of London’s finest communities of shops & restaurants.
17 and 17a Rugby Street is a pair of glossy black painted Victorian shops, surrounded by history and personality. Immediately opposite, at number 18, is a townhouse that was once the home of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. Steps away are the friendly, independent cobbles of Lambs Conduit Street and its unique mix of appealing and engaging retailers including Darkroom, Folk, Aesop, Persephone Books, Oliver Spencer, J Crew, The People’s Supermarket, The Lamb and Noble Rot.
We will have a selection of our hand-stitched cushions, quilts and giftware on display and for sale at the shop. Do come by to look around and say hello.’
Open Monday to Saturday 12 - 24 September, 11am – 6pm.