There are so many opportunities at this time of year to see and buy wonderful handmade things. In London there is almost too much to see and this weekend I saw as much as I could! Going to open studios is particularly good as you get to see the work, the maker and the studio all in one. On Friday night I started with Cockpit Arts Holborn and it was great to wander round catching up with friends, seeing new work and generally getting into the Christmas spirit. I bought some beautiful Maya Selway earrings and a necklace from Mariko Sumioka!
On Saturday my first stop was the Chocolate Factory N16 open studios. I had never been there before and it was a lovely cobbled mews of artists and designers studios. Just off the Kingsland Road, which is sooo busy, the mews was a quiet creative haven. The highlight for me was seeing Lina Peterson's studio - it was so colourful and there were so many beautiful jewellery pieces on display. Every detail of Lina's workshop compliments each other, from the handmade earring stands which reflect the earrings themselves, to the lovely colourful packaging. I am now the proud owner of an LP brooch! Oh, and I also accidentally bought a lovely vase from Jo Davies who's studio is next door to Lina's.
Next up was Made in Clerkenwell and I was interested to see how the collaboration with the Goldsmiths' Centre worked out. From the perspective of an outsider looking in, I think it was successful - all three sites that made up the open studios were very busy. Perhaps a few too many makers are in the Network member spaces in terms of space to browse however there was a busy, festive atmosphere.
After Made in Clerkenwell I went to Contemporary Applied Arts (CAA). This has moved location since my last visit and getting there took me right past Borough Market - so I stopped for some food - an unplanned stop but very needed and to be able to do that reminded me of how much I love London at times!
The new CAA building is great, it's a large open plan space filled with contemporary craft, from jewellery, ceramics, and glass, to furniture and textiles. The Whiteout exhibition was, well, white! Lots of objects designed and made around a white theme.
To be honest, for Saturday this was too many things to fit into one day - I couldn't browse them all completely and I just concentrated on the bits I really wanted to see so I am sure I missed some great things. As a jeweller I did wonder that with so many open studios, exhibitions and craft fairs happening there is a lot of opportunity and also a lot competition for makers! I am just going to concentrate on the fact that I love making things and see where this takes me :-)