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London Design Festival 2015: What’s on?

Sep 17, 2015

by Sarah Hewett handmade and vintage goods

The London Design Festival is the highlight of the UK design calendar, where the world gathers just once a year in our fair capital to celebrate great craft and design!

We’re pretty excited (can you tell?) but, with so much going on and limited hours in the day, how will we ever decide what to visit? Well, we’ve put our heads together here at Etsy HQ and come up with the top 5 shows on our hit-list at London Design Festival this year…

1. Etsy in the UK: Four Corners of Craft

FROM ETSY IN THE UK: FOUR CORNERS OF CRAFT - Vanessa Bullick in Scotland, Rachel McKnight in N. Ireland, Kirsty Patrick in Wales, Gladys Paulus in England.

Etsy’s Four Corners of Craft: Vanessa Bullick, Rachel McKnight, Kirsty Patrick, Gladys Paulus

Firstly, allow us a moment to blow our own trumpet! This year, Etsy makes its mark at the festival with an exhibition of cross-disciplinary contemporary craft with Four Corners of Craft on 24-27th September at Tent London.

We’re all set to unite the best of UK craft, in partnership with the Crafts Council and arts organisations in England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales. Discover a diverse and exciting selection of products from the four corners our country, tied together by the quality of making.

From Inverness to Sussex and Belfast to Cardigan, the Etsy community is a highly talented group of designer-makers, creating beautiful contemporary craft across all areas of the UK. This exhibition is the culmination of a maker development project, where selected makers have been supported with professional development from The Design Trust. It will showcase their work and tell their stories.

Find out more, meet the makers and plan your visit here.

2. Craft Council’s ‘What is Luxury?’ at the V&A

Nora Fok, Craft Council at the V&A

Nora Fok, Crafts Council at the V&A

Hot on the heels of other smash hit exhibitions at the V&A, The Power of Making and Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft, the latest offering from the Crafts Council is not to be missed. ‘What is Luxury? interrogates ideas of luxury today. It will address how luxury is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity.’

There’s lots on at the V&A during the festival, but you (quite literally) won’t be able to miss the Zotem in the grand entrance – ‘a bold and colourful installation conceived by London-based Norwegian designer Kim Thomé with Swarovski’.

3. CAA & NEO Bankside: Native Land, Home of a Ceramics Collector

Photo: Sophie Mutevelian (Tanya Gomez at CAA)

Photo: Sophie Mutevelian (Tanya Gomez at CAA)

London’s leading multi-disciplinary gallery for fine British craft (and our Four Corners of Craft partner), Contemporary Applied Arts (CAA) will host an exciting open house event on Saturday 26 September. Native Land: Home of a Ceramics Collector is a collaboration between CAA and NEO Bankside and offers a rare opportunity to appreciate stunning contemporary ceramics in the heart of the city.

‘Visitors will be given access to one of the luxury penthouse apartments, in which a curated selection of ceramics from CAA’s range of makers will be displayed.’ Tickets are free but numbers are limited, so pre-book here.

4. Crafty Fox Market: Kachette pop-up

From Crafty Fox Market, Kachette

From Crafty Fox Market, Kachette

Our good friends at Crafty Fox Market are popping up with Kachette (26-27 September) and we can’t wait! Well known for connecting savvy shoppers with talented designer-makers, this is a great chance to meet the artists in person. Among them, you’ll recognise some Etsy sellers, including Pygmy Cloud, Pasinga, Made by Manos and Mountain & Molehill.

5. Tent London: Craft highlights

Shane Holland Crafts Council of Ireland

Shane Holland, Crafts Council of Ireland

There’s a real focus on craft at Tent London this year, with showcases from Korea Craft & Design Foundation, Design and Crafts Council of Ireland, loads of individual designer makers and (ahem) Etsy in the UK: Four Corners of Craft (come find us in Shop 12!).

The people at Tent London say: ‘As an antidote to mass production and conscience buying, one of the overarching focuses in design in recent years has been a renewed interest in craft. The making process becomes a fundamental part of each object that carries with it a knowledge and skill passed on from generations’. We couldn’t agree more!

Check out a a few crafty highlights here and we’ll see you there!

Still hungry for more?

Turns out just 5 top picks are not quite enough for us! We’ll also be heading along to:

  • The Oxo Tower, with a series of special events by their resident designer-makers.
    Material Consequences at Craft Central, a group exhibition exploring materials, techniques and the environment, by a collective of makers working in wood, metal, cloth, ceramics, glass and cork.
  • Design Junction is in it’s 5th year and not to be missed! But don’t get lost, the LDF giant has a new home for 2015 (two new central London locations, The College and Victoria House).
  • Society of Designer Craftsmen – ‘From sand-etched glass and wood, embellished textiles and porcelain, to bird skulls and preserved fish skins, this is where cutting edge craft meets dreamland.’ Need we say more?!

Inspired to sell what you make? Opening an Etsy shop is simple. Get started with 20 free listings! Enter the code: FOURCORNERS here (new sellers only).

Header image credit: Etsy seller, Tedwood Design (from Etsy Four Corners of Craft)


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