For so many of us the festive season passes as an all-out frenetic buzz before we allow ourselves to draw breath on Boxing Day morning. In November’s edit we hope to restore a bit of balance throughout the month with a mix of festive events and opportunities to slow down, reflect and savour the experience.
We hope you will all find a quiet moment to enjoy our ‘Meet The Maker’ conversation with progressive sculptural artist and furniture designer Gareth Neal whose 3D printing practice is at the forefront of craft’s evolution today.
For more exceptional craftsmanship throughout the month please follow us on Instagram @londoncraftweek
Our pick of what to see and do across London over the coming month
Celebrate the art of craftsmanship with Christie’s at an evening event brimming with artisan talks, workshops and demonstrations. Helen Chislett, co-author of the newly released book “Craft Britain: Why Making Matters” will lead a panel discussion on the subject. Pocket some interior design tips from Edward Bulmer, marvel at the intricacy of stitching in the hands of Lora Avedian and try your hand at silver hammering, guided by master silversmith Wayne Meeten.
Image: Laura Avedian at work | Credit: Laura Avedian | Photo by Aloha Bonser-Shaw
If ever a word should be brought back to common parlance it’s ‘apricity’. Meaning ‘the warmth of the winter sun’ it conjures the most appealing of seasonal moments. Through their joint exhibition of ceramics and textiles – ‘Searching for Apricity’ – Nancy Fuller and Maria Sigma invite us to slow down and contemplate our experience of the always-changing seasons.
Image: Nancy Fuller ceramics | Credit: Flow Gallery
London Craft Week is privileged to span multiple worlds, the boundaries between art, craft, design and architecture always being blurred. This ambiguity is embraced wholeheartedly by Francesca Anfossi, one of thirteen international artists brought together by Canopy Collections to explore different perspectives on the material nature of paper and clay. Working in close collaboration with local communities, Francesca’s handmade pieces are inspired by everyday domesticity, resulting in striking objects that flow from the nature of their material and fulfil genuine human needs. Does that make them craft, art or design? We’ll leave you to decide.
Image: Tamara Van San, Tidal Wave, 2018. glazed ceramic | Courtesy of Canopy Collections
Retreat from the pre-Christmas bustle into the woods of the Japanese region of Hida. This exhibition of master woodworking exudes calm, but its subjects pack a punch. They honed and pushed their craft over the course of centuries to build some of Japan’s most famous temples and contribute to the collections of museums around the globe.
Image credit: Japan House London
Another Pantry is a contemporary food platform that champions seasonal, slow and conscious cooking. Founder Safia Shakarchi draws together the most thoughtful talents working in food today and brings their products and recipes to a home-cooking audience. For the rest of this month you can get a taste of their favourites at Another Pantry’s Pop-Up Grocery Store in Seven Dials. If you’re keen to don an apron and learn a thing or two, you might just be able to book one of the remaining tickets for Sunday’s Wildfarmed pasta-making workshop with Olivia Cavalli, using planet-pleasing regeneratively farmed flour.
Image credit: Another Pantry | Photo by Liz Seabrook
Festive open studios and shopping events
Go off-piste to discover extraordinary handmade gifts this Christmas.
Cockpit Winter Open Studios
Bloomsbury, WC1, 24th-27th November & Deptford, SE8 3DZ, 2nd-4th December
This is likely not the first you’ve heard of Cockpit’s Open Studios, and with good reason: It’s the big one. Home to over 160 makers across a wide range of disciplines, we challenge anyone to come away empty-handed. See Beatrice Larkin (@beatricelarkin) pushing the capabilities of a Jacquard loom with woven translations of the blotches and blurred edges in her hand-sketched line drawings; Darren Appiagyei (@inthegrainn) demonstrating true respect for materials in the turning of exotic woods; and meet Majeda Clarke who believes so passionately about the importance of keeping community traditions alive, as she has done in learning from the Jamdhani weavers of Dhaka.
Image credit: Majeda Clarke
A highlight of the De Beauvoir Christmas shopping trail, Gareth Neal will be lighting the fire, mulling the wine and inviting you to browse a selection of handmade wares. In this month’s Meet the Maker interview [link] he also shares that he’ll be putting some of his latest experiments with robot arms and traditional crafts on display.
Image courtesy of Gareth Neal | Photo by Cliqq studios
In the spirit of balance this season, anatomē’s festive weekend promises a moment’s respite from the hubbub. Sip a botanical cocktail while creating bespoke bath oils and salts to gift, or maybe keep.
Image credit: anatome | Photo by Georgia Rudd
Come for the selection of pottery from twenty ceramicists and leave with a new hobby for 2023. Studio Pottery London supports all lovers of clay with taster lessons for absolute beginners and a mentoring programme for more experienced potters.
Image credit: Studio Pottery London
Meet the Maker
Interview with Gareth Neal
Gareth Neal has been shining brightly on our radars this month. Not only will he open his doors for the festive event detailed above, but his work stars on the cover of ‘Craft Britain: Why Making Matters’. This is a fitting acknowledgement of the important role he is playing in stretching the boundaries of what is understood by craft today.
We hear from Gareth about challenging notions of craft: “Many would question that if something is made without the hand is it even craft?”.
We ask how it feels as a maker working with technology-first processes: “What’s so wonderful about the process of printing directly from the computer is the ability to see what you think it’s going to look like prior to committing precious material and resources to its existence.”
Gareth shares what he’s got his eye on across the capital this winter and we talk about the future. Read the full interview on our News page to hear about his dream commission and where the experiments are going next. Spoiler alert: It involves placing traditional craft techniques in the arms of robots.
Image: Gareth making the Zaha Vessels | Courtesy of Gareth Neal | Photo by Petr