London has an almost constant stream of design events during May (and again in September). Along with Clerkenwell Design Week, one of my favourites is London Craft Week. This 5-day festival is a celebration of craft, and this year's programme takes in hidden workshops, independent makers, heritage craftsmen, little known regional producers, small shops, celebrated masters, leading department stores, national museums, contemporary galleries, and famous artists and fashion designers.
Two of our favourite events were an "In conversation" organised by Hole and Corner Magazine, between designer Ilse Crawford and perfumier Lyn Harris at headline sponsor Alfred Dunhill's wonderful Bourdon House in Mayfair. "Spaces and Senses" focussed on how interior design and scent can affect the users of space, enhance mood and a sense of belonging. It was interesting to hear from Lyn about how some scents such as frankincense, are very subtle, but effect us on a subconscious level, and from Ilse about how she feels her job is to instill an almost intangible sense of well being in her interiors. Lyn also talked about how she came to work with glass blower Michael Ruh to create reusable glass containers for her room candles. Ruh had set up his furnace in the courtyard of Bourdon House, and treated visitors to a demonstration of his craft over four days of the festival, along with Pole and Hunt, knife makers, hand weaver Maria Sigma, potter Florian Gadsby, artist Charlotte Taylor and spoon carver Mark Reddy.
Another enlightening talk was organised by Cockpit Arts at the Leatherseller's Hall in the City of London. It was an incredible setting for the talk and an exhibition "Then and Now" curated by contemporary leather worker Bill Amberg, pairing unique and historically important pieces from the National Leather Collection with their contemporary equivalents. During the Maker's Stories Live talk, curator Brian Kennedy (of Tresor Contemporary Craft fair in Basel) led a panel discussion with gallerists, writers and craftspeople, about the importance of support networks, collaboration, sharing of ideas and the often thorny issue of putting a value on craft work.
London Craft Week continues today and tomorrow in venues all around the capital. For more info, visit londoncraftweek.com