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Funding won for the Crafted City

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Glassware by Michael Ruh and Stewart Hearn. Courtesy of CAA

Glassware by Michael Ruh and Stewart Hearn. Courtesy of CAA

Date of publishing: 
Thursday 5 February 2015
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Contemporary Applied Arts and London Craft Week has won funding from the Arts Council England for the Crafted City, an exciting public commission.

This May, The Crafted City will spring up from Bankside to house an array of informative and interactive events. This joint initiative, generously funded by Arts Council England, will centre around the construction of a purpose-built pavilion situated at Contemporary Applied Arts in the Borough of Southwark, an area renowned for its tin-glazed pottery, glass and leather tanning – materials which will be interwoven throughout both the making of the pavilion and the activities to which it will play host during the week.

This innovative and elegant pavilion will perfectly encapsulate the ethos of London Craft Week, offering an elegant and flexible space from which to showcase exemplary skills, whilst serving as a craft object in and of itself. Designed and made by leading local makers, working across a range of disciplines, The Crafted City will offer a flexible space for audiences to meet, talk, learn about and explore craft, whilst serving as a hub from which one can explore the week’s other activities dotted throughout the capital and highlighting the richness and diversity of London’s many creative neighbourhoods. London’s proud heritage as a continuing creative incubator will shine through all elements of the project and visitors will benefit from a dynamic and engaging programme of talks, demonstrations and making sessions. 

Christine Lalumia, Executive Director of Contemporary Applied Arts added, “Our maker members are using ancient skills, many of which are in danger of being lost forever, and interpreting them in their own unique voice and in contemporary idiom. The results are often both stunning and thought-provoking.”

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Insiders Guide to London Craft Week

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Date of publishing: 
Wednesday 16 March 2016
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Each week we will share the trending events and advice from our friends. This is the first instalment and although primarily for those interested in fashion, film, theatre or jewellery there is also much else besides. 



The Making Behind Fashion at Selfridges

Hussein Chalayan & Alice Temperley discuss the use of craft techniques in fashion.

Thu 5 May, 6.30–8.00pm, 30 places £30 + vat

More information | Book tickets


Edwina Ibbotson and Rachel Trevor Morgan at the Dorchester

Tea, talk and hats on view with Milliners Edwina & Rachel Trevor Morgan

Wed 4 May, 3.00–4.00pm, 20 places, £30 + vat

More information | Book tickets                        


Theatre and Film

Making Shakespeare’s Globe

A tour of the famous reconstruction with a focus on craftsmanship.

Thu 5 May, 10.45am, 25 places, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets        


The Making of Film: Game of Thrones & King Arthur

BAFTA winner Angels open up their costume workshops and warehouse.

Wed 4 May, 11.00am–1.30pm, 30 places, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets                



Leo de Vroomen and Joanna Hardy on Jewellery

A discussion on jewellery trends, what pieces stand the test of time, as well as how to wear jewellery.

Wed 4 May, 6.00–7.00pm, 15 places, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets                    


Concept to Creation with Stephen Webster

Stephen Webster opens his new boutique to showcase recent designs and talk about the creative process. Champagne reception.

Wed 4 May, 6.00–7.00pm, 20 places, £30 + vat

More information | Book tickets                        


The Ring with Elizabeth Gage

Join Elizabeth Gage at her salon in Belgravia for a glass of champagne as she talks about ‘The Ring’

Wed 4 May, 6.00–7.00pm, 8 places, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets  


Behind the Scenes Tours and Demonstrations:   

Barware at Asprey

Asprey’s Homeware designer Hakan Rosenius showcases a new collection of barware and cocktail shakers that inspired a new London Craft Week champagne. See the workshops and try the new cocktail.

Wed 3 May, 2.30-16.00, 25 places, £30 + vat

More information | Book tickets  


Diamond Polishing and Cutting at Backes & Strauss

A rare opportunity to gain an exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into the high-skill-intensive processes that transform the hardest natural material into a polished gem.

Wed 4, Thu 5 & Fri 6 May, 3.00pm, 10 places, £15 + vat  

More information | Book tickets    


Crafting Japan at Dartmouth House    

Four of Japan’s treasured cultural traditions are brought to London for the week, including Yamamotoyama who performs a tea ceremony, Kiya who demonstrates knife-sharpening, Ibasen who provides a display of fans, and Haibara who crafts Japanese Paper.

Thu 5 May, 11am and 4pm, 30 spaces, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets  



Candle Chandlery with Rachel Vosper

This candle-making course with Rachel Vosper covers the history of candle chandlery and the basic skills needed to create a bespoke candle.

Thu 5 & Fri 6 May, 3.00pm, 8 places, £30 + vat

More information | Book tickets


Mixing a Scent at Ormonde Jayne

Join a master class in creating your own perfume to take home in a hand blown falcon.

Tue 3 May, 3.00pm, 6 people, £35 + vat

More information | Book tickets    


Buy Bespoke or Commission:

How to Buy: The Bespoke Suit on Savile Row

Andy Barnham and Rupert Watkins, from Riddle magazine, lead a tour around Savile Row.

Wed 4 & Thu 5 May, 11.00am, 12 places, £20 + vat

More information | Book tickets    


Sebastian Tarek Open Studio

Join specialist shoemaker Sebastian Tarek in his East End workshop to learn about the complete process of commissioning a pair of shoes

Sat 7 May, 11.00am, 8 places, £8 + vat

More information | Book tickets                                               


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Vanessa Swann Selects

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Date of publishing: 
Monday 9 April 2018
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Vanessa Swann, CEO Cockpit Arts selects 

“One of the benefits of London Craft Week is getting to know who is who and who is doing what, especially within the independent and contemporary craft field.  The many independent craftspeople, patrons and advocates of British craft, and the support organisations are part of a growing network that you can be part of  and in your own way help stimulate the UK craft economy, socially culturally and economically.”

Balance: An Exhibition by Sebastian Cox in Collaboration with Bamford

Bamford and Sebastian Cox present light, perfectly balanced pieces of suspended sculpture, handcrafted from English wood and spilling over with native flowers and leaves. These pieces capture the essence of biophilic design and create a sense of well-being and calm.

Johnson Tiles and The British Ceramics Biennial present (UN)WOVEN by Tana West

The British Ceramics Biennial and sponsor Johnson Tiles present (UN)WOVEN, an exploratory and material-specific presentation of 2017 AWARD-winning artist Tana West at Material Lab. They also announce new developments and opportunities for the BCB’s headline exhibition AWARD.

Leather – Then and Now at the Leathersellers’ Hall

Bill Amberg Studio curates an exhibition of fine leatherwork at the Leathersellers’ Hall. This exhibition pairs unique and historically important pieces from the National Leather Collection with their contemporary equivalents, reflecting on the enduring qualities and appeal of this remarkable material.

Weaving Masterclass and Talk with Dovecot Tapestry Studio at Clothworkers’ Hall

Dovecot’s weavers discuss Chris Ofili’s The Caged Bird’s Song, the tapestry commissioned by The Clothworkers’ Company. Hear how they translated Ofili’s watercolour into woven wool in a lunchtime talk or attend a masterclass and try weaving on a sample loom.

Making It! QEST and the HCA at the Worshipful Company of Carpenters

Craftspeople from QEST and the Heritage Crafts Association demonstrate an array of skills, with opportunities for visitors to join in. Furniture maker and designer John Makepeace OBE also gives a talk on how he made the Master’s Chair for the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, followed by a champagne reception.

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Johnny Coca's Top Picks

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Date of publishing: 
Thursday 3 May 2018
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Johnny Coca, Creative Director of Mulberry, makes his selection of highlights from the London Craft Week 2018 Programme.  See his entire list of unmissable LCW events.


Mulberry: Celebrating a Passion for Making 

“Visit our New Bond Street on Friday and Saturday to meet one of craftsmen and discover our limited-edition Amberley Hobo bag, created in celebration of craft”.


Innovation Through Tradition at the Michael Hoppen Gallery 

 “This series of installations brings two subjects that have now inspired me for years into one space and line of thought. I am intrigued by how punk and craft can intersect, which is why I won’t be missing this show by Le Kilt and NORN.”


The Flipside at Selfridges 

 “The concept of what luxury could look like in 100 years completely draws me in. Not to mention the performances by Benoit Swan Pouffer’s dance company and the opportunity to discover the sensory experiments of  Mr Lyan - all in this beautifully-conceived industrial space.”


Leather – Then and Now at the Leathersellers’ Hall 

 “Every day in my job I am reminded how remarkable leather is; ‘Then and Now’ celebrates this, bringing unique and historical leather art pieces from the National Leather Collection in Northampton to the capital – something which Londoners, like myself, would never normally have the opportunity to see.”  

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Maker in Focus: Simone Brewster

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Photo by Kristof Szentgyorgyvary
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Tuesday 2 October 2018
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For October’s Maker in Focus interview, we spoke to the multidisciplinary maker Simone Brewster about her creative journey through the mediums of Architecture, Product Design, and Jewellery, about finding her voice as a craftsperson, and how her four cultural heroes have affected her outlook and practice.

Simone was part of a panel of makers discussing ‘Diversity in Craft’, for the Design Museum and Loewe Foundation’s talk series Craft Conversations during LCW 2018. Silversmith Ndidi Ekubia and Gallerist and porcelain manufacturer Peter Ting were also part of the conversation, which was chaired by the Crafts Council’s Director Rosy Greenlees.

Image by Simone Brewster

LCW: What is your background?

SB: My background is pretty diverse and may be a key indicator in why my work touches on many subjects. Educationally, I began in architecture. I was quite young when I went off to study at the Bartlett, but I think it was an amazingly grounding preparation for a professional life and the realities of the creative world. I didn’t have as much fun as I would have liked though, so I did a Masters at the Royal College of Art, which would give me a hands-on opportunity to continue my growing passion for making and materials. During my time there I would always sneak off to other departments.

I remember having tutorials with people in the jewellery department and the guys in vehicle design teaching me how to sculpt and mould. It started a love affair with design and creation that hasn’t really stopped. However, my educational background is only one aspect. I am also a born and bred Londoner, with Caribbean heritage. I’ve grown up with a rich and diverse cultural exposure and cross-culture appreciation that has been a constant source of personal inspiration.


LCW: What drew you to create such a variety of work, spanning both discipline and materials?

SB: My work is an expression of myself and my curiosity. I think there’s an obsession with creative disciplines, which can actually be limiting to the artist. When I started making work, I considered it a form of play and a conversation with my surrounding world. I let my awareness and natural interest be my rudder through a journey of expression leading me through from architecture, product design and across to jewellery.

I did not feel inhibited manifesting my ideas regardless of discipline. This meant that making furniture and making jewellery was equally as inspiring and interesting to me. Any creative process is a personal journey and the cross-disciplinary work I produce, is one that many creatives probably don’t feel the pull to explore, otherwise I believe you would see it more frequently. On the other hand, I would say that for me the idea of receiving a “title” is a daunting prospect. Our societal habit of labelling can close as many doors as it opens and maybe this has something to do with why I continue to walk down different creative avenues.


LCW: How have you developed your career? Was there a pivotal moment that drew you to craft?

SB: I’ve always thought of my career as an organic weird shaped thing that grows in unexpected ways with many off-shoots. Craft is just one of those branches. I really didn’t have a master plan when I started working.

I actually never wanted to be an independent creative. I always just wanted a simple job that would make me happy. What happened was my work was louder than my intentions, the work had a larger voice, which called people to ask for me to make more work and so it began.

I ended up making work as evidence of my skills, my creative approach and my capacity to think. I still feel like it’s a very tenuous thread.

My creative voice has been called unique (though I personally veer away from that word), though many people have talent. Finding your path to a career is very different from finding your voice as a creative. It’s the difference between being able to spell and being able to write and then being able to reach your audience with your books. I’m still figuring out how to reach my audience and I’m still training my voice, so I think this strand of my career is still in its early stages.

Image by Kevin C Moore

LCW: Take us through your typical day…

SB: It’s quite straightforward really. I wake up at around 5.30am. I eat something light and basic. I go to work, I come home. I have a tiny studio space that I’m actually neglecting. I’m learning how to stone carve. I am in what could be called a ‘pupal’ phase. I’m changing and rebuilding on the inside, asking different questions about the work I make, where it sits and the intention I have with it.  I’m also spending a lot of time on paper. In a strange way, I began on paper, even prior to the architecture I drew. It’s actually what brought me to that field. Now I spend time on paper far more than in the past, before moving on to three-dimensional forms and I spend time in the digital phase too.

Each stage has a place and a limitation, but the older I get, I find that I need balance to keep me from burning out and to maintain some level of perspective on life. For this, I spend my evenings climbing, which is one of the best forms of active meditation I’ve found to date. 


LCW: Where do you draw inspiration from in the creation of your work?

SB: Inspiration is play. I think of my mind like a Michelin chef’s kitchen cabinet. I want to collect as many different ingredients and exotic recipes as possible. Then when I’m ready I’ll put them in a pot and play with them.

Being inspired is truly the easiest part of being a creative and in some ways we weigh too much on this. I am from London. I am surrounded by history and culture. I’m from the Caribbean and from England, where there is such a rich visual and creative culture. It’s easy to be inspired by walking in nature, listening to music let alone the obvious ones we are taught, going to museums, looking at the work of others.

The real question is what do you do when you’re not inspired? How do you keep going when it’s hard or when you don’t have the funds, or you can’t see the rainbow through the current storm you are passing through? I think that resilience and consistency are far more important ingredients than inspiration. It’s actually these ingredients that will carry you through to the next level of your creativity and your career.


LCW: What role does craft and making have in society?

SB: So much of historical culture has grown out of our relationship to our surroundings and how we transform those natural materials into objects of enjoyment. Wood to bowls, metal to tools and adornment. I think there’s something very instinctual about craft and as we move into a more digitised age, craft can play a great role in reminding us of the tactile and personal, the real and the quiet. It can remind us of our ability to transform ourselves and hone our focus and our minds through the act of making, designing and creating. It is not immediate. It is cumulative. It is constant. It repays those who have the vision to commit to a path. I think that society is waking up to this more and more and appreciating this, which is why we see the rise of “craft” beer and the success of Bake Off on TV. We are realising that regardless of what we make with our hands, the act of making with skill or the desire to hone skill is important and worthy of the word craft. Through the act of craft we forge our minds. 

Image by Luke Andrew Walker

LCW: How long does it take for someone to really build confidence in their craft?

SB: I think that’s a personal question and it really depends on what people aim to achieve with the act of making. For me, it’s an exploration far more than a desire to be the best, which is why I suppose I feel free to explore different disciplines. However, I do feel that I liberate myself from that pressure by coming from a design background. Ideas are paramount to me.

Maybe that’s the answer to the question, I have far more confidence in my ideas than my ability to make. For me, this isn’t a problem. I am happy to work with other makers and learn from them when I can. The idea comes first. 


LCW: Life on a deserted island or life without dessert?

SB: My sisters make amazing cakes, so I guess life without dessert would mean life without my sisters, which would be much like living on a deserted island, so I guess I’m at a stalemate.


LCW: What are the positives/negatives about being a craftsperson?

SB: The positive about being a craftsperson is that you develop a relationship with a form of self-expression that’s personal. Often you also take on part of a heritage and lineage that has existed and developed through the evolution of our societies.

The negatives of this journey are, that those outside of the craft world don’t actually understand the time and skill, which goes into making…anything. Dedicating yourself to making things is not just the cost of the workshop, the materials and the tools. It’s the endless hours you go into “skilling” yourself. Into making the perfect joint, the seamless solder, the clean weld. It’s learning how to predict a material, how to bring forth the best in the material and ourselves. 

Craftspeople are so regularly undermined. After spending years acquiring the skills and tools, renting spaces in cities and towns, we often get asked why our work is so expensive. People forget the time that goes into making, the cost of materials and the personal investment. When we live in a world where you can buy cheap products imported from other parts of the world, the product of cheap or underpaid labour, the question of value and where we place ours as individuals and as a society comes into play. We begin to see that we have so much more to learn about the reality that goes into making all of our possessions.

Image by Kevin C Moore​

LCW: Do you have someone that you idolize? Craftsperson or otherwise.

SB: Idolize is a heavy word. I think it moves people away from the realm of reality and that’s not healthy. However, in a recent exercise, I was doing with Patricia Van Den Akker from The Design Trust, I was asked to identify four heroes I looked up to and identify the qualities which drew me to them. The list I came up with made me rethink the dialogue of my practice. The four names that I chose were Louise Bourgeois, Jamie Hayon, Chris Ofili and Akala.

Bourgeois represented longevity and career. This woman worked a lifetime, most of which without recognition, but kept going because of her passion. When people think about careers they don’t often think about one spanning till the age of 99.

I greatly admire Hayon’s creative expression, design quality and confidence to bring forth a personal vision. I also love that as a designer he focuses on working with dying craft industries in Spain. His projects aim to rethink and revive craft through design. A job we are now constantly being faced with to keep craft industries alive.

Chris Ofili represented purpose. After reading his opinion on why to make work and him saying "When I left the Royal College, I decided I would only make paintings that I would want to look at myself, that felt close to my life." I too went to The Royal College and on reflection, felt my work was not speaking with a unique voice yet. I decided to try and bring forth work that I believe has a new flavour or perspective. But to do that you need courage - which brings me to the final name Akala.

For me, Akala represented integrity and courage. I admire his ability to articulate his position. I appreciate his ability to craft knowledge and use it to empower and educate others. I want my work to speak to others and empower them. I want my work to give voice to other concepts of beauty and value. I want my work to have integrity. I want it to represent craft and I intend to have a career that spans until 99.


LCW: What is Craft to you? What does it represent?

SB: Craft is the vessel through which I carry my ideas and my perspective into the world and share it with people. On a less philosophical angle, it’s fun. I believe everyone should make something and that craft and the potential and value of craft, the desire to skillfully make, is only just being understood in our society.

<em>Edit Event</em> The Art of Making at the Art Workers’ Guild
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The Art Workers’ Guild is a body of more than 400 artists, craftspeople and architects working at the highest levels of excellence in their professions. 

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