Category Archives: Makers

Mark-making workshop by Modern Eccentrics at Cass Art

Ever keen to learn new skills I signed up recently for a workshop run by Ross and Jonny of ModernEccentrics at Cass Art where we learned about making our own brushes and ink.

Here are some of Ross’s beautiful brushes – these are not actually intended for use.
Photo by Caroline Banksand the trolley selection of materials to make our own.Photo by Caroline BanksAnother trolley set up for ink production Photo by Caroline Bankswith avocado ink on the boilPhoto by Caroline BanksHere’s my first attempt at brush-making: a multi-branched combo that began disintegrating almost immediately with use as you can see.Photo by Caroline BanksIt has to be said I was quite hard on them so once I’d broken off the limbs drew exuberant dancers using a concentrate of oak gall inkPhoto by Caroline BanksPhoto by Caroline BanksContact Modern Eccentrics for info on more of their courses.

A couple of Amin Taha Architects’ buildings in North London

It’s exciting that 15 Clerkenwell Close by Amin Taha Architects , will be open for this year’s Open House London Weekend. It’s built on the site of an 11th century Norman Abbey which stood here till the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century and now houses the architect’s office as well as flats and a small public garden.Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksI cycle past Barrett’s Grove, N16, another project by the same practice, on a regular basis and am fascinated by the use of brick as a covering for the entire structure, including the roof.  The actual structure is cross-laminated timber (CLT) and won the RIBA London Award 2017 and RIBA National Award 2017.

Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline Banks Photo by Caroline BanksI’m not sure this will be open during Open House London but you can see both buildings close up from the outside as shown above.

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.