Meet the artisans – MADE London

MADE LONDON – The Design and Craft Fair is organized by Tutton & Young Ltd, artist and print maker Sarah Young and administrator Jon Tutton and their team. Their aim is to present an enjoyable fair, showcasing the very best and most original makers in this country and beyond, exhibiting and selling their highest quality designs direct to the public.

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Now in his third year in London, MADE LONDON’s first two shows have seen over 5500 visitors attend each year and a high quality and variety of the work on show. The Design and Craft fare takes place at One Marylebone right in the center of London in a beautiful Church building, with a different feel to each of the 4 levels of the show.

We visited the show on its first day on Thursday October 22nd. Many of the designers and makers we talked to don’t attend many other fairs and usually exhibit and sell in galleries and via dedicated stockists. They see the fair as good occasion of exposure of their work to new galleries, stockists and the general public.

Elaine Bolt,  Ceramics lives in East-Sussex and she uses materials found on her country and beach walks in her porcelain and terracotta vessels and mixed media art pieces. “I like to blur the lines between ceramics and found materials… I like the idea of delicacy” she says when speaking of her work and inspiration. We could see this idea  in all her work, from the dark terracotta vessels to the impressive art pieces. The found  objects can be small pieces of wood, moss or pine cone and Elaine integrates them so well with the ceramics that it seems as they had always been there.

Emma Lacey makes hand thrown ceramic tableware that stands out thanks to their form and to an inspired colour palette of light and soft colours. “I was inspired by the sensual form of the bodies in the sculptures I saw when visiting Italy and love the tactility of the clay both during the making process and the firing and hope this comes across in my work” Emma responded when asked about her inspiration and work process. We were especially impressed how well the mug of her everyday range fits in the hand. Each piece is dented while the clay is still soft giving it a sensual aesthetic and a form that is ergonomic to use.

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Sara Tyssen caught our eye with the wonderful colours of her limited edition Merino lambswool scarves and blankets. “I have been using a similar colour palette for our 30 odd years now and love wool” Sara says. She uses Australian merino lambs wool dyed in the UK and her line also includes woolen hot water bottle covers. Sara chooses her fairs and shows well and considers MADE London a very good quality fair and she will also participate at the Made in Brighton Edition.

Forge Creative  are at their first edition of Made London, but had already participated at the Brighton show. Forge Creatives is Josh Kennards and Oli Milne, two designers/makers based in Sussex. Using natural and recycled materials such as wood, metal, concrete and glass, they make quality hand-crafted furnishings, functional and ornamental items. We especially liked the ornamental trees and even went as far as suggesting they should have names. Looking at all the products we could see the respect the makers have towards their material, especially the wood giving it a very natural feel with every line visible. When asked about it, Josh Kennard mentioned to us: “Wood is beautiful as it is”.

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David Worsley known as Dove St Pottery likes to work on a variation of greys inspired by stoneware and the flowline of the glace. We especially liked the clean lines of the functional domestic products that are anything but simple. David’s work can be found in stockists and galleries across the UK and at John Lewis.

Sheffield based ceramic artist Penny Whiters showcased her beautiful range of sculptural ceramic products that are so thin and flat, they are almost a 2D surface, giving it a particular twist. “People find them good for niches” she mentions and “wood firing made me want to do big surfaces”. She composes on the wheel and then trows, cuts, constructs out of thrown slabs. Penny also spoke to us about the challenging experience of promoting herself and her work online for the craftanddesign.net selected makers awards. The makers who were able to engage the widest audience and gained the most votes where selected as finalists. Penny was one of the finalist in 2014 and she has been using social media as a platform to engage with people all over the world.

Blott Works caught our eye in the Crypt (it is a church after all), with their hand engineered functional sculptures. Based in  North of England, founder Dan Morisson explained to us  how he got started with his first sculpture, the Crane Lamp, realizing once completed that the lamp looked liked a bird.  The unique mix of engineering and artistic skills of both Dan Morrison  and Andy Plant are the basis of the company founded in 2012, with the aim to design and make domestic ‘machines’ in an individual and engaging style.

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Somerset based ceramic artist Keith Varney impressed us with his almost architectural take on the ceramic sculpture.  His hand built, folded and constructed objects explore form, line, texture and shade. The artist spoke to us about his process: “My work started as paper origami and then I went on exploring the potential of porcelain, making it into eggshell thin sheets so that I could fold it. You have to find the exact moment when the sheets are not too wet making them unfoldable and not too dry that they break. It is a challenge”. Keith work can be found in gallerys across England, the Design Museum and a very select number of shows per year.

To find out more about the event and the makers featured in the article visit: Made LondonElaine Bolt CeramicsEmma LaceySarah TyssenForge CreativePenny Withers CeramicsDove St PotteryBlott WorksKeith Varney

Report by Carlotta Corvi and Simone Eder

©Shimeji Creatives