Returning for its ninth edition earlier this month, London Craft Week once again brought together a wealth of local and global talent
Photography courtesy of Lauren Maccabee
Words by Roddy Clarke
From installations to demonstrations and showroom presentations taking place across the city, London Craft Week (8-14 May) continued to put a spotlight onto the varying forms of craft and their relevance in a contemporary society. With the UK’s desire for craft rising year on year, independent makers are bringing a fresh dynamic to the industry, especially when tackling social and environmental issues.
Approaching materials with innovation and working with circular principles, these makers are allowing us to turn away from mass-produced alternatives and make a positive step towards local and conscious creativity. Thanks to collaborations with larger brands and organisations, as was seen across the week-long celebration, recognition for these makers is growing and discovering them is becoming easier for lovers of design.
Here are five top highlights which caught my eye:
1. Soho Home x De La Jardin
Photography courtesy of Soho Home and Jacqueline de la Fuente
With an organic sculptural aesthetic, the works of artist and maker Jacqueline de la Fuente have circularity at their core. Taking packaging waste and reworking it into a papier-mâché ‘clay’, the UK-based designer is presenting a novel solution to the pressing issue which consumers and brands face today.
As part of Soho Home’s Member Market campaign, London Craft Week saw the opening of an in-store De La Jardin pop-up, featuring the works of de la Fuente.
Photography courtesy of Nat Maks
2. Memory Landscapes by NAT MAKS
As part of the Future Icons showcase which took place over London Craft Week in the iconic Oxo Tower’s Bargehouse, artist Natascha Maksimovic presented a series of works which reference the ancient marbling practice of Suminagashi. Using leftover oil inks, the pieces explore memories of previous works while creating a unique and beautiful statement of their own.
‘Whilst creating my work I would always notice that the water would give me an unusual pattern,’ Maksimovic states, explaining that she then created these works from the water as it was, before cleaning it for the next print run. ‘To me each one is a window to a forgotten time. Almost as if I have found an ancient lithograph, made by the water.’
Photography courtesy of Mayfair Gallery and SEEDS Gallery
3. Back to the Future: Exploring the Antique and the Contemporary by Mayfair Gallery and SEEDS Gallery
Coming together in a thought-provoking exhibition, this was a visual feast as classic decorative arts and contemporary design united in harmony. With the passion for antiques climbing again in recent years, it not only allowed us to see how they can thrive in contemporary spaces but it also explored the commonality in design principles across eras.
While the materials and processes may differ, the approach is often alike between antiques and contemporary craft, with values of longevity and resourcefulness at their heart. Merging the two certainly adds drama and excitement to any interior.
4. Fabrica X
Photography by Dan Weill
The installation explored how craft and science is coming together to push down boundaries and find solutions to some of the pressing environmental issues we face today. Offering a real insight into how craft can be a powerful tool for change, it also allowed us to reimagine fashion retail as a more thought-provoking and inspiring space.
5. Aberfeldy Stories: Colours of Home
Photography courtesy of Lola Lely
This public art installation based in Tower Hamlets’ Aberfeldy village saw the local Poplar community come together in collaboration with artist Lola Lely in a project commissioned by EcoWorld London and Poplar HARCA. Displaying a series of banners which were created in free community workshops last year, it championed the ingenuity found within the local community.
Added to this, it highlighted the environmental benefits of hyper-local production and how community and collaboration can be vital for positive change. From screen-printed hemp cloth to natural dyes created from locally foraged vegetation, it was inspiring to see conscious creativity blossoming within the public realm.
Photography courtesy of Lauren Maccabee
Words by ICON
With CODE/CRAFT/CHAOS, design agency Here explored the meeting point of what is both beautiful and useful through the collision of human craftsmanship and machine power.
From pixel to physical, visitors could experience the fusion of sustainable materials and algorithmic computation through a selection of designs generated by code and soulfully created by humans into tapestries, ceramics, screenprints, plus music and even poetry.