The Art of Making: Insights Into the Art and Craft of Beautiful Objects by The Art Workers’ Guild


In their historically rich Grade ll*-listed townhouse, Art Workers’ Guild makers showcase a range of craft disciplines, from woodcarving to textile dyeing, demonstrating the specialist skills involved. Don’t miss daily tours of the building’s unique interior by Simon Hurst, Honorary Architect of the Guild.

*Please choose specific event details above and then ADD TO MY LCW
Exhibition and demonstrations: booking not necessary; Talks: booking necessary

In their historically rich building, the Art Workers’ Guild makers showcase a range of craft disciplines, from woodcarving to textile dyeing, demonstrating the specialist skills involved. Join them for a programme of talks, tours, demonstrations, and exhibitions.

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. Founded in 1884 by young architects and designers, its principle of ‘learning by doing’ has spread through arts education and has had a worldwide influence. A respect for quality, for craftsmanship, for the work of the hand, and a recognition of the healing, humane value of craftsmanship still characterises the Guild.

Set in the heart of Bloomsbury, the Guild is housed in a Grade ll*-listed 18th century townhouse, linked by a vaulted glazed-roof courtyard to the Arts & Crafts-style meeting hall, designed by Francis Troup in 1914.

The exhibitions, demonstrations and tours are free of charge and no booking is needed.
Talks need to be booked in advance and cost £12.

Programme of talks:

For the full timetable of talks, please see the Art Workers’ Guild Website https://www.artworkersguild.org/theartofmaking/

Thursday 7 October

11.30 am Vicki Ambery-Smith – Architecture in miniature

Vicki reveals the processes used to explores the language of architecture in her unique miniature structures. The lecture includes a demonstration of fine silver fretwork and a rare opportunity to look up close at the finished pieces.

1.00 pm Llewellyn Thomas – Craftsman, ‘designer’-craftsman, ‘artist’-craftsman.

Llewellyn will explore the hierarchy implied in these different words with a focus on his own practice of relief printmaking. At what point does skilled craft practice reach beyond making?

2.30 pm Jens Torp – The magical world of the silver miniature

Jens Torp will tell his story – from being a goldsmith working in Hatton Garden for many years to meeting a hobby enthusiast who introduced him to the magical world of the 1/12th scale miniature.

4.00 pm Tracey Sheppard and Katharine Coleman – Cutting it Fine

Glass engravers Tracey Sheppard and Katharine Coleman compare their contrasting techniques, backgrounds, tools and perspectives. Whilst Tracey works on both architectural and small scale commissions, Katharine focuses almost exclusively on smaller scale works. As with other crafts, the future is never certain and they share a determination to keep their crafts alive by teaching and demonstrating.

Friday 8 October

11.30 am Bridget Bailey – A Making Safari

Bridget gives an illustrated talk about her discoveries and experiences interpreting nature in her work, from the awe-inspiring construction of a blade of grass to how to describe a dead butterfly in the language of textiles.

2.30 pm Prue Cooper – Messages from the Workshop

For centuries potters have inscribed their pots with messages to the world beyond the workshop  – an impulse like putting a message in a bottle. Prue Cooper relates this to her own work.

4.00 pm Cathryn Shilling – Woven Narratives

Cathryn will discuss the ethos and inspiration behind her signature work, from its initial conception almost fifteen years ago, through the many incarnations of its evolution, to her most recent and innovative work which combines both warm and hot glass techniques.

Saturday 9 October

11.30 am Monica Boxley – From my phone to a piece of unique handcrafted cloth

Monica will show the process of photo manipulation to a finished piece of fabric. The processes may be totally digital, or the photograph may be the starting point for screen printed and hand painted fabric. It all starts with a smartphone…

1.00 pm Chila Burman in Conversation with Frances Spalding – Portraiture – Punjab – Punk- Pop

Chila will talk about her recent projects, including her installation Remembering a Brave New World at Tate Britain, her promo car for the White Tiger movie, the Ruth Borchard Self-portraiture show at  Coventry Cathedral in May and the Covent Garden commission I See Words in Rainbows from August – November 2021.

2.30 pm Chris Keenan – Round & around

Chris’ talk will track the major opportunities and developments that 25 years of making pots have afforded him. From his apprenticeship to working with industry to being artist-in-residence in Japan and the pleasures of site-specific exhibitions.

4.00 pm Penny Walsh – Contemporary application of natural dyes – inspiration from the past

An exploration of some of the myths and magic of the ancient art of colouring textiles and the adaptation of historic dyeing methods and recipes for contemporary requirements. Could a serious revival of the craft of traditional dyeing be both an inspiration for designers and a solution to some of the textile industry’s sustainability problems?

 Sunday 10 October

11.30 am Julie Arkell in conversation with Jane Cox – Making a Story

Julie works in mixed media…papier mâché, fabric, wool, cardboard and assorted household ephemera. Words and lists are stitched or painted onto pieces creating their own narrative and worlds. This open wide-ranging conversation between Julie, Jane and the audience will encompass the beginnings of her work, her influences and the use of domestic materials.

1.00 pm Phil Abel – The Amazing Mechanical Typesetting Machine and Other Wonders

Phil will talk about the extraordinary invention of mechanical metal typesetting in the late nineteenth century that influenced printing and typography, contributing to the interplay of aesthetics and techniques that make up great printing.

2.30 pm Bobbie Kociejowski, Charlotte Grierson and Rachael Matthews –

A conversation between three contemporary makers of constructed textiles

Handweavers Bobbie Kociejowski and Charlotte Grierson and textile artist Rachael Matthews exchange ideas around the value of constructing textiles by hand in the world today and the importance of passing on knowledge for the future.

4.00 pm Stephen Fowler – Rubbish Printmaking

Stephen’s background in rubber stamp printmaking has progressed into the use of recycled materials as an exciting alternative to traditional forms of print, within the context of his studio and teaching practice.


7 October 2021, 11:30 - 12:30, 13:00-14:00, 14:30 - 15:30, 16:00 - 17:00
8 October 2021, 11:30 - 12:30, 14:30 - 15:30, 16:00 - 17:00
9 October 2021, 11:30 - 12:30, 13:00-14:00, 14:30 - 15:30, 16:00 - 17:00
10 October 2021, 11:30 - 12:30, 13:00-14:00, 14:30 - 15:30, 16:00 - 17:00
7 October 2021, 11:00 - 18:00
8 October 2021, 11:00 - 18:00
9 October 2021, 11:00 - 18:00
10 October 2021, 11:00 - 18:00


Art Workers’ Guild

6 Queen Square


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