Tuesday, November 24

Crafty shopping

It's time to hang on to your wallet in London as the crafty/design christmas fairs pile up one after the other over the next couple of weeks.

I'm hoping to sample at least one of the various events; top of the list will probably be the Cockpit Arts open studios at Deptford, which is on 4-6 December. I regularly visit the studios and never get tired of seeing the beautiful textiles, jewellery, ceramics and other items on sale and meeting the talented folks responsible for making them. Cockpit Arts has two sites - one in Deptford and one in Holborn, and they both provide studios and support for 'designer makers'. In a nutshell that's effectively artists/designers who have channelled their skills into a craft of some sort, and found a way to make a living out of their creativity. It's not just a building with studios to rent - they also offer workshops to teach business skills and professional development to their designers, to give them the skills to make a success of their talents. Other support such as organising and promoting the open studios event and other workshops, and maintaining a directory of designers/keeping the website active and relevant, are also vital to help these designers establish themselves and develop their skills further. I rather like the mission statement of this place, that's one of the reasons I keep going back. Several of the studios house weavers, it's fun to see the huge floor looms and dream over what I might one day produce on a smaller scale....

Oh and they sell some lovely stuff too - the only problem being that I usually end up buying things for myself rather than trying to focus on christmas shopping!

Another event grabbing my attention is the Hidden Arts Christmas Design Fair, which I have never been to before - it's a bit further afield but could be worth a look. It's on this weekend 27-29 November in Brick Lane, east London. Good place for a curry while you're down there!

Alternatively I might pop up to trendy Clerkenwell for Craft Central this weekend. Tsk, so many shopping opps, so little time!

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