Category Archives: Makers

Delectable bags at MADE London in Canary Wharf

I do love a good bag and these two designers seen at MADE London certainly know about making them. Although very different, each produces a “classic” style. I didn’t choose deliberately but both makers below are based in London.

Frank Horn is the name of the brand, not the person, though Francis is his middle name. He produces small runs of clean structured bags in practical sizes and a great range of plain colours –  yellow is apparently a current favourite.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksThese covetable market/storage bags below by Maiko Dawson are some of her sturdiest ones though she has a large range of leathers and colours to choose from in other stylesPhoto by Caroline Banksfrom this acid lemon tote with pocket stitch detail

Photo by Caroline Banks

to the kid leather softness of these pocket bags and spectacle holders. Oh, and she also makes shoes.Photo by Caroline Banks

Tableware at MADE London at Canary Wharf

Lighter evenings feel like a gift of time so I profited by visiting the latest fair by MADE London held at the Winter Garden East in Canary Wharf.

We were really taken by the mid-century aesthetic of  Elizabeth Renton’s domestic ceramics in a sophisticated colour palette. One piece that stood out for me for the subtlety of colour was this crackle glazed jug. Notice how the glaze doesn’t quite reach the bottom.Photo by Caroline Banks Her mugs and small jugs fit well into the hand and are really satisfying to hold.

Photo by Caroline BanksNext on the culinary wish list was this sterling silver saucepan, just one of a range of items by Brett Payne. I made the mistake of asking how thick the silver plating was (as it would rub away with repeated cleaning) but no, his impressive front-woman (also his daughter) told us he only works in solid silver; he is a silversmith after all. Silver is  an excellent conductor of heat so just the thing for searing scallops.Photo by Caroline BanksThese swan spoons were very cute too.  Click here for the video). You need deep pockets but these pieces are investments, made to last for generations.Photo by Caroline Banks
Photo by Caroline Banks

Makers seen at Made London

Artists and designers have and always will be, inspired by nature. These two makers, seen at Made London, are a case in point.

Bridget Bailey’s  exquisite interpretation of bird eggs made from textiles and feathers caught my eye, quite a change from her earlier insects and moths (see a previous post)

Bridget Bailey. Photo by Caroline BanksBridget Bailey. Photo by Caroline BanksBridget Bailey. Photo by Caroline Banks
Bridget Bailey. Photo by Caroline Banks

as did the work of another textile artist, Amanda Cobbett, who is completely obsessed with nature. Her highly reflective display boxes didn’t permit decent photos of these fungi so please visit her website for better imagery
Embroidery by Amanda Cobbett. Photo by Caroline Banks Embroidery by Amanda Cobbett. Photo by Caroline Banks Embroidery by Amanda Cobbett. Photo by Caroline Banks

And those red dots below are from my camera, not some aberration on the mushroom.

Embroidery by Amanda Cobbett. Photo by Caroline BanksTo see more of Bridget’s work, visit Clockwork Studio’s Christmas Open Studios 8th – 10th December

New Designers Part 1 – Katy Gillam-Hull at One Year On

It always surprises me when I see work at this show that I never noticed at a previous New Designers exhibition which just shows what visual overload can do.

Katy Gillam-Hull is one such maker whose loving recognition and restitution of old fragments and tools were, for me at least, quite moving. Her interventions encourage us to look again at items which have been forgotten and discarded, and she gives them a new incarnation whilst retaining a connection with their previous life.These ceramic fragments are a case in point.The top to this old bottle has been made taking into account all the irregularities, ensuring a perfect fit.as does this stopper Apologies for some of the slightly blurred shots here, my macro setting went a bit weird on me.

Gosho No Niwa: No Wall; No War Japanese garden at Chelsea Flower Show

Given the weather I thought an outdoor post would be appropriate for this week.

Nestling under the mature trees we discovered this gem designed by Ishihara Kazuyuki, a regular gold medal winner in the Artisan Garden category (plot sizes 5 x 4m or 7 x 5m) at the Chelsea Flower Show.

This year he kept his gold medal record and deservedly so with his inspiration the Kyoto imperial garden which has no defensive moat or wall as it was inconceivable that it should ever be under threat.What I found staggering here was the level of detail with all sides of the plot carefully considered. Here is a photo of the back

and the sides

Known for his trademark use of moss seen here in a detail on the sides

and along the front.The scale is deceptive, giving an impression of generous and mature landscape within such a tiny space

Korean Craft & Design Foundation KCDF at Collect

Korean craftsmanship is deservedly famous throughout the world and you can see why from some of the ceramics shown on the Korean Craft & Design Foundation stand at Collect, the annual international makers’ show in London.

Lee Jong-Min can produce no more than 10-12 of these delicate pieces per year. To be honest that sounds like a lot to me given the complexity of the work.

Park Sungwook hand moulds, glazes and fires each element to create these composite pieces of great subtlety. I couldn’t find a weblink so for more info please contact the Foundation.

Silver from Bishopsland at Collect, the Saatchi Gallery.

Bishopsland Educational Trust provides silversmiths with an opportunity to develop their practice with their post graduate residential course. The resulting work is always worth seeing and this time included necklaces by  Lucie Gledhill


and this silver wire piece by Nan Nan Liu.Some of my work includes silver leaf gilding and I’m currently experimenting with the tarnishing process so would be keen to see these after a year or so.

Glass by Heike Brachlow at Bullseye Projects seen at Collect, Saatchi Gallery

I was blown away by this stand from first -time US exhibitor Bullseye Projects and interested to learn that the sculpture shown was by UK -based Heike Brachlow.

I keep returning to the adjective of purity when describing work that I am drawn to. Her sculpture is anything but simple however it has a clarity of intent that is unwavering. Heike makes her own colours as she is not satisfied with the ones readily available on the commercial market; doesn’t that show.

If you’re interested in anything to do with glass and are in the US then visit the Bullseye Project website as well as the Bullseye Glass Company. If it’s to do with glass, they’ll know about it.

Purity and minimalism at Collect, seen at the Saatchi Gallery.

Yes, I know it’s circles again but bear with me.

This textile piece by Shihoko Fukumoto at ARTCOURT Gallery is, for me at least, an exercise in meditation

The french word épuré (uncluttered) captures for me the pure nature of these pieces. Stripped down to the simplest elements they are exquisitely made with nothing intruding as a distraction.  It may look easy but just try doing it.

Brooches and rings by Junwong Jung shown by the ever impressive Marzee gallery illustrate my point. 

The jewellery containers are designed with the same rigour as their contents.

It’s not only Asians who excel in the discipline of minimalism and purity though it can sometimes feel like it.

Andrea Walsh whose work I last featured back in 2013, showed these containers with Officine Saffi

I couldn’t live with such purity exclusively (my tastes are too catholic) but it definitely fills a need in my life.