London Craft Week 2016

Harris tweed Hebrides

The second edition of London Craft Week will showcase exceptional craftsmanship from around the world through a  programme of 129 events across the city, featuring hidden workshops and unknown makers alongside celebrated masters, famous studios, galleries, shops and luxury brands from 3rd – 7th May 2016.

Weaving events include:
Dashing Tweeds  working on a table top loom to show the basics behind the design and development process used to create their urban cycling reflective tweeds, using unique reflective woollen cloth also known as lumatwill.  Dashing Tweeds specialise in creative woven textiles for menswear, tailoring modern sporting tweeds into ready to wear collections.Dashing Tweeds cloth for CraftW (1)
Lin: The Arts of Taiwanese Rush Weaving : Curated by Native & Co with Chia-En Lu and the Taiwan Yuan-Li Handiwork Association, this exhibition including a workshop explores the craft and techniques behind Taiwanese rush weaving, following its history and rebirth through contemporary design.

Native & Co, London Craft Week 2016With 300 years of history, rush weaving is one of Taiwan’s oldest and most traditional crafts. Lin wild rush grass, is native to the paddy fields of Yuanli in western Taiwan. First used by the Pingpu tribe to weave everyday objects, rush weaving evolved over centuries. At its peak the craft thrived under Imperial Japan, becoming one of Taiwan’s main exported goods. Rush weaving cannot be reproduced by machine and requires immense skill and patience. Chia-En showcases a series of hand-woven rush-weaved baskets, made in collaboration with the Taiwan Yuan-Li Handiwork Association. Each piece is handmade by master weaver Xue-Yun.

Originally from Taiwan, Chia-En’s body of work merges a contemporary and minimal design with traditional craft. She values design as a means to create awareness for traditional crafts and support the craftsmen behind them.

Workshops available on 7th May

Rattan Weaving: Lulu Lytle, the creative director and founder of Soane Britain,  shares her journey from acquisition and subsequent revival of the last rattan-weaving workshop in the UK.

For 17 years, Soane Britain has sought out and cultivated relationships with dedicated artisans practising skills such as iron forging, fine chair making, precision engineering and saddlery around the country. Soane Britain acquired Britain’s last-surviving rattan-weaving workshop in 2011. Based in Leicestershire, historically the centre for English rattan production, the company now has the skills and ability to make any design in rattan.

Tapestry: Ben Hymers, Apprentice Weaver from Dovecot Tapestry Studio demonstrates weaving techniques used in the making of the tapestries created for Ace Hotel London in 2013. Ben will work on a new design created specifically for London Craft Week and Ace Hotel, whilst Daniel Harris and Martino Gamper weave with dye, offering a chance to view limited edition work for the hotel and try this innovative technique.

Dovecot Tapestry Studio is a world-renowned producer of hand-woven tapestry and gun-tufted rugs. Continuing a century-long heritage of making and collaboration with leading international contemporary artists, the Studio weavers are dedicated to producing extraordinary and engaging works of art by commission from private and public collectors from across the globe.

Martino Gamper is an Italian designer based in London who became internationally regarded through his project 100 Chairs in 100 Days, where he created new furniture from found items.  Since then his practice has ranged from bespoke commissions to curating the exhibition ‘design is a state of mind’ at the Serpentine Gallery.

The London Cloth Company was established by Daniel Harris in October 2011 and is the first micro-mill to open in London. They specialise in quality woven cloth, particularly woollens, produced on their ever-expanding range of carefully restored shuttle looms dating from the 1870s.

Real to Reel: The Craft Film Festival will take place on the 4 and 5 May at Picturehouse Central – each evening showing a different programme of films.

Craft has a very special relationship with film, and on screen, can be hypnotic, surprising and magical.  The resurgence of interest in materials and making processes has resulted in a host of beautiful and interesting new films on the topic.

Based around the theme of our ‘Material World’, the festival presents documentaries, story-led films and animation, selected from an open call for submissions. From seeing skill in action, or materials from a new angle, and celebrating the craft of film-making, Real to Reel will show an array of films that capture the wonder of craft.

Harris Tweed Hebrides at Huntsman & Sons: Mark Hogarth, Creative Director of Harris Tweed Hebrides, talks about the 140 independent weavers who remain the heart and soul of the tweed industry, producing carefully crafted handwoven cloth exported to countries around the world.

Harris Tweed remains the only fabric in the world protected by Act of Parliament. The three main tenets of the Act are that the cloth must be made from virgin wool, at the home of the weaver in The Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Harris Tweed Hebrides is an award-winning company based at Shawbost on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. Founded in 2007 when Harris Tweed was at a low ebb, the company is generally credited with having revitalised the industry and taken the famous fabric into the front-line of 21st century fashion and design. As the main producer of Harris Tweed cloth, the company exports to over 60 countries, with customers including Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Saint Lauren, Paul Smith, Margaret Howell, J Crew.

Interlocking Colour Study - 2010 - Hand dyed and woven artworkCraft to Industry at Material Lab: Alongside a display of hand-dyed and woven rugs and textiles, Ptolemy Mann joins with Material Lab to discuss the relationship between craft and industry.

Curating a special display of craft-related materials, Material Lab shows the range of surfaces they use to meet project specifications. Founded by Johnson Tiles, Material Lab is a design resource for the architecture and design community, bridging the gap between craft and industry by working with both big brands and young designers.

Ptolemy Mann has worked as a textile artist, designer and colour consultant since 1997. She specialises in wall-based, hand-dyed and woven textile artworks. These have become the basis for a modern-day Bauhaus philosophy of product and art making underpinned by intelligent colour theory.

The exhibition is open Tue 3 May – Fri 7 May 09:30 – 17:30

The aim of London Craft Week is  to experience the true creativity, see what real quality means, meet some of the world’s most respected makers and artists and even have a try. Visitors will see world-class fragrances being developed scent by scent, diamonds being cut and polished, porcelain being hand painted, silver being shaped, glass being mouth blown and Chinese calligraphy being performed live. All against the backdrop of the vitality, variety and serendipity of London from Selfridges to Chelsea Physic Garden, from Mayfair to SE27.

An invitation-only VIP programme will run alongside the main programme with a small number of one-off and intimate experiences, including handling objects from museum collections, special access to private residences and exclusive dinners. London Craft Week is supported by founding partner Vacheron Constantin and sponsors Grosvenor and Mulberry.

“London has long had a Fashion Week and a Design Festival. Now there is London Craft Week, a celebration of the magical combination of imagination, individuality, passion and skill found in the best-made of things.” Guy Salter, Chairman.

2016 Programme Highlights
London Craft Week shines a spotlight on outstanding craftsmanship from around the world, featuring luxury brands including CHANEL, Lalique, Carl Hansen & Son, Rolls Royce Motor Cars, LOEWE, Graham & Brown and Holland & Holland.

Two master craftsmen, a watchmaker and enamellerdemonstrate the skills required in fine watchmaking at the Vacheron Constantin boutique. Grosvenor launches The Grosvenor Series showcasing London’s finest craftsmanship with a series of events across Mayfair & Belgravia, including a ‘Window with a view on Pimlico Road’.

Mulberry will host, at their Bond Street store, a celebration of the arrival of the new Johnny Coca design for The Clifton, which is made in England at their Somerset factories. Asprey’s homeware designer, Hakan Rosenius, will host an event to showcase Asprey’s long heritage and current collection of barware including cocktail shakers inspiring a new London Craft Week champagne cocktail, served to audiences at the event. Linley celebrates its 30th anniversary with an artist installation by Michael Eden.

The British Fashion Council’s Headonism makers, together with renowned milliners Noel Stewart and Piers Atkinson, at The Dorchester Hotel present the opportunity to buy a bespoke hat, while shoe designer Georgina Goodman takes over Black’s Private Member Club with an installation and pop up shop.

Independent makers such as Julian Stair, Alison Britton and Kate Malone will be talking across various London venues, while artists such as Danny Lane and Simon Moore open their workshops to the public. Furthermore, London Craft Week presents behind the scene tours of collective studios including Standpoint Studios, Vanguard Studios, Second Floor Studios & Arts, Crafts Central and Cockpits Arts as well as individual maker’s workshops such as furniture makers David Gates and Rachael South and silversmiths Smith & Harris, who have completed commissions for artists Anish Kapoor and Marc Quinn.

London Craft Week offers the opportunity to deconstruct and see how contemporary everyday items such as the suit, dress, hat, shoe, knife or book are made. Intimate, expert-guided ‘How To Buy Bespoke’ tours tackle suits, couture millinery and shoes.

Talks on commissioning one-off works and advice from curators on collecting also feature in the programme.

Some of London’s landmark institutions are offering behind-the-scenes tours to look at ‘The Making Behind Buildings’, including The Royal Opera House and The Tower of London, while artist demonstrations and installations will be presented at The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Design Museum, Geffrye Museum, The William Morris Gallery, Sir John Soane’s Museum and Science Museum.

London Craft Week celebrates special moments such as HM The Queen’s 90th birthday with visits to the Patey Hat Factory, the hatters who make the Brigade of Guards’ bearskins, and the saddlers of the King’s Troop of the Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich Barracks. There is also a chance to get the inside track on the making of costumes used in Game of Thrones or King Arthur in a tour of Angels Costumes, recent winners of a BAFTA award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.

Fortnum & Mason present a showcase of work by designers who have taken part in Walpole’s Crafted mentorship scheme and fashion designers Hussein Chalayan and Alice Temperley will be at Selfridges to discuss ‘The Making Behind Fashion’.

World-class chefs demonstrate craftsmanship in the context of food, such as knife-making with Mark Hix at his carving dinner, eating off specially commissioned ceramic plates in the company of Skye Gyngell at Spring Restaurant, and off custom made wooden spoons and bowls with Stevie Parle at CRAFT restaurant.

This year, as well as featuring exceptional British artists, London Craft Week is also premiering national treasures fromfurtherafieldincluding Professor Wang Dongling from China, who will be performing his large scale calligraphy at The British Museum; ceramicist Rafael Pérez from Spain exhibiting at the Contemporary Ceramics Centre; Officine Saffi and FattoAdArte (hosted by MADEINBRITALY) Italian galleries that will present pop up exhibitions, Karen Bit Vejle from Denmark whose intricate paper installations will be on view at the V&A and Skandium and pottery demonstrations by Jingdezhen artists at the China Design Centre.

A conference at the Heritage Crafts Association brings international makers to London including Ritu Sethi from India and Eivind Falk from Norway. International films will be shown as part of the first annual UK festival dedicated to craft and moving image, produced by the Crafts Council and Crafts magazine, giving a platform to the wealth of films that explore themes of making, makers, materials and process.

Text and images: London Craft Week

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