Guy Salter, Highlights of London Craft Week

Guy Salter, Highlights of London Craft Week

It was hard enough to do my LCW Highlights last year with 70 events, so seriously tough this time round with twice as many (even relying on my trusty Condor to get me round as speedily as possible).  But also how to select from so many super-talented makers doing remarkable things in special places?   But choose I must, so here goes…

Opening the unassuming door of Carl Hansen’s high-ceilinged Clerkenwell space was a great start to my LCW.  Not only was I able to meet the remarkable Karen and Mario of Mourne Textiles but got to see Karen weaving on one of their 100 year-old looms making a fabric originally designed for Robin Day’s Gatwick chairs.  What was also so special was to see how their collaboration with Carl Hansen has resulted in a stunning recreation of a Wegner chair upholstered with their new Donegal fabric.

Julian Stair’s History of the 20th Century Pot was an intellectual, aesthetic and emotional tour-de-force made all the more special by being able to handle his very personal selection from the V&A ceramics collection.  I think its fair to say those of us lucky enough to have been included in this intimate session felt enormously privileged and moved.  I certainly will never look at a Ming or Song Dynasty jar in quite the same way again – to say nothing of a Bernard Leach..

Being hosted by Tim Gosling in his eighteenth century Clapham home, which has gone full circle from gentlemen’s country villa back to much cherished and restored residence of the ultimate gentleman-designer, via a spell as a Victorian laundry (albeit one that kept Queen Victoria’s bloomers pristine), is a rare treat.  Made all the more so during the event he gave for a lucky few LCW fans by the presence of Gavin Rookledge, whose ability to create magic with vellum reminded us of why for thousands of years it has been so treasured.

I’m lucky enough to have been invited to Sarah Griffin’s home a few times now.  But seeing her collection up close remains very special indeed.  Made all the more so during LCW by her invitation to a selection of the most talented RCA students to show their work.  I’m afraid I couldn’t resist buying a couple of pieces.  I strongly urge you all to attend the Ceramics & Glass graduation show in June.

Flow Gallery is a gem.  And Akiko Hirai’s work inspirational.  I made the fatal mistake of falling in love with one of her pots but not buying it straight away – less than 24 hours later and it had been snapped up.

Wang Dongling is not only a great artist he is a gentlemen in the true sense of the word.  Its been a huge honour to have him over from China for LCW this year and seeing him create one of his masterpieces live in the Great Court of the British Museum is something I will never forget.

I thought I knew a reasonable amount about the process of commissioning a bespoke tie, hat, suit and pair of shoes but Simon Crompton’s tour of Drakes, Locks, Lobbs & Rubinacci was a revelation.  Not just to see and meet the modest but amazingly skilled makers who work away behind the scenes but learn the intricacies and subtleties of different processes and materials. Simon is literally a walking encyclopedia – and, needless to say, a very well turned-out one.

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