London Craft Week celebrates creativity and fine craftsmanship by bringing together over 700 artists, designers, brands and galleries worldwide. The ninth edition of the London Craft Week ran from May 8th to 14th, 2023. Several events, conferences, workshops and performances took place all over London, from Soho to South Kensington, Hammersmith to Hackney.
Here are some of my favourites:
A Showcase of Paper Artistry
Fedrigoni Paper showcased its renowned paper artistry at its London Studio. With a rich 135-year heritage of paper production, Fedrigoni unveiled new creative boundaries, working alongside the most talented artists and designers across the world.
Lisa Lloyd is a three-dimensional paper artist. Her works are inspired by nature and the contrast between its delicate details and immense raw power. Dynamism, bold colours and movement allow her to get closer to the semantics of sculpture.
Kuniko Maeda merges traditional Japanese techniques into digital ones, allowing the materials to take a naturally formed abstraction. The skilful artist transforms daily surroundings and everyday objects into mesmerising optic journeys. You can in fact, explore and appreciate the work from multiple angles.
Clare Pentlow combines bold coloured papers and precise cutting techniques to create surreal pieces with a sense of depth and movement. Her work evokes intricate and complex correspondences by exploring life from within through fascinating geometric motifs.
Mind, Hand and Time
Soluna Art Group, a leading craft-focused gallery in Seoul, presented creations by Dahye Jeong at the London Craft Week. The pieces are inspired by traditional Korean headwear worn by men in the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910). Dahye used horsehair and weaved this ancient material into delicate, transparent vessels. The headwear comes in many different shapes. Dahye studied headwear and developed her own style of weaving. Creating these pieces with unmatched finesse requires painstaking patience and time. For that reason, the exhibition is named after the three main traits of Dahye Jeong’s art: ‘Mind, Hand and Time’.
A Celebration of African Crafts by Merchants on Long
Merchants on Long curated an eclectic selection of African handmade homeware and fashion. Merchants on Long is one of the first concept stores focusing on exotic African design. This ranges from beadwork to intricate telephone-wire weaving and woodcarving. In fact, the event helped the visitors understand the different facets of contemporary African design.
Plaiting Ancestral Flowers with Mah Meri Tribe
National Craft Institute of Malaysia presented an event where visitors could learn to plait leaf origami with Maznah Unyan. Maznah Unyan is a master plaiter from the Mah Meri tribe. Maznah Unyan lives on Carey Island in the Malaysian state of Selangor.
Leaf plaiting in the Mah Meri culture is passed down through the women and plays an integral part in the culture. The Mah Meri have an animistic religion that places importance on ancestral spirits. It is believed that these ancestral flowers, or “bunga moyang” as they are known in Malay, are offerings during ceremonies to appease their ancestral spirits.
Constructing Space: Danish Contemporary Craft Exhibition
The exhibition featured three Danish artists, Ane Christensen, Heidi Hentze and Trine Drivsholm. Each of them, in fact, works on three distinct mediums — metal, porcelain, and glass. Consequently, the artists share concepts and themes. ‘Constructing Space’ refers to the artists’ ability to manipulate materials and thus create the feeling of forms being continuously constructed/deconstructed.
The artists play around with different entities such as form versus absence, light and shadow, fragility and balance and explore negative space. Despite different materials, all three artists presented an interpretation of geometry, both mathematical and organic.
Moon Jar: The Untold Story
The Moon Jar is an icon in contemporary ceramic history and is celebrated in both the UK and Korea. The traditional form reflects the shape of a floating full moon, dating back to the 18th century in Korea. This exhibition explored interpretations of the form by six Korean makers working today.
These artists, Rhee Soo-jong, Lee Gee-jo, Yun Ju-cheol, Park Sung-wook, Choi Bo-ram and Kwak Hye-young, find a sense of ‘self’ within the Moon Jar’s rich heritage. They, in fact, deconstructed the traditional Moon Jar. And then, the classic white pots have been embellished with gold. You can also see them in different colours. Subsequently, the shape is no longer just curvilinear. While some interpretations are subtle while others have gone full circle, returning to the traditional form while still finding a way to express their individuality and artistic ‘self’.
Cubitts x Vic Wright
Manchester-based sculptor Vic Wright created tactile formal juxtapositions, harnessing differences in texture and colour for a powerful visual language. Her combination of sustainable casting cement with metal powders and pigments so as to create rich contrasts in form and colour.
She harnesses the beauty of naturally occurring differences that are strangely refracted, nature amplified and distorted in industrial materials in order to create delicate tactile forms.