May is craft time in London

More than 50 venues around the city are organising events and exhibitions that focus on decorative arts and artisans


More than 50 galleries, workshops and luxury stores across London are staging simultaneous exhibitions and projects in May as part of a new initiative called London Craft Week (6-10 May). The event, which is due to be held annually, will coincide with the Collect contemporary craft fair at the Saatchi Gallery (8-11 May).

The luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason is hosting “Crafted”, an exhibition of works by 28 artists installed in various departments in its store on Piccadilly. The show, one of the largest of London Craft Week, is organised by the curator Brian Kennedy and is due to include objects by the potter Chris Keenan, the glassmakers Stephen Gillies and Kate Jones, and the jewellery designer Ruth Tomlinson, with prices ranging from £20 to £10,000.

Other London Craft Week exhibitors include the New Craftsmen shop, Cockpit Arts studios and London Glassblowing studio and gallery. A purpose-built pavilion called “The Crafted City” is being installed outside the Southwark gallery Contemporary Applied Arts. Constructed by Allies and Morrison architects, the pavilion will be clad in blue and white glazed tiles designed by the artist Daphne Carnegy, featuring eels, crabs, herrings, mussels and oysters. (The tiles are a reference to the Delftware made in Southwark from around 1613 onwards.) Specially commissioned lights, furniture and tableware will be for sale inside the pavilion.

Meanwhile, crafts are getting an additional boost in the UK with the recent announcement that the Crafts Council is digitising its archive thanks to a grant of £88,100 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Sketchbooks, photographs and drawings that have never been seen are to be published online. The initial phase, due to go live in November, is called the First Decade Project and focuses on 100 objects acquired in the first ten years of the collection (1972-82). Each object is accompanied by a “digital story” consisting of photographs and new testimonies.