London Craft Week: My Best-Of, Part II
I am of the belief that art has no boundaries, does not live well in categories and is only one of the elements of any period’s zeitgeist—alongside furniture design, perfumery trends, architectural movements and hair lengths. I know it might sound sacrilegious to some but we don’t live our lives in compartments, so why should we segregate art?
London Craft Week (LCW) broke down the barriers between art and craftsmanship, no better than in Mayfair where we admired ceramic vessels in handbag boutiques, painted cork bowls in Louboutin store, avant-garde paintings in clothing haunts, silversmithing at Georg Jensen and glass painting at Thomas Goode. Hopping from store to mews to ateliers, we accessed, admired (and at times acquired) an incredible variety of skills, artists and goods, bringing our happiness-o-metre to its highest level.
Mixing Stories with Jessica McCormack
No mistake as to who the stars of the event were: a jeweller and an embroiderer extraordinaire.
The thrill came to near shrieks during our visit of Jessica McCormack’s astonishing townhouse on Carlos Place. An absolute gem of a Victorian house on 5 floors, full to the brim with books, paintings, knick-knacks, and artifacts referencing many cultures and parts of the globe. It was like stepping into your grandmother’s home where your 60s beatnik aunt had lived with her tribe of moneyed artist friends. They never left, but became a bourgeoise along the way. The crowd was chatty, bejewelled and in-the-know, with air kisses de rigueur liberally distributed, whether you knew the person kissing you or not.
No mistake as to who the stars of the event were: a jeweller and an embroiderer extraordinaire. You can select the jewelry box for your bespoke piece and have it personalised via embroidery. You mix your story and that of the makers — genius.
The single diamond pieces were really pulling at my heart. I’ll have to diplomatically send LOML there on his next London visit. And the Party Jacket concept is wonderful: often a piece needs a bit of bring-me-into-this-century but you don’t want a full reset. Jessica creates a “jacket” for your piece and voila!
Cockpit Arts: An Incubator of Craft
You step in a world of fine craftsmanship, luminous studios, intense creative energy, and sheer happiness.
In a complete different genre, we were transported into a world of its own at Cockpit Arts. A business incubator for fine craftsmen, it’s a hive of talent. Located in an old furniture warehouse off a small nondescript alley, you will never find it if you don’t know it was there. And yet, you step in a world of fine craftsmanship, luminous studios, intense creative energy, and sheer happiness. There is an incredible sense of calm, serenity, and happiness that pervades the building and the studios (all 170 of them). Ian Scott Kettle invited us in his world of men accessories with a difference — wearing a tie plastron has so much more pizzazz than a regular knot. Ekat Paul creates embroidered maps of your city. Judy Bentinck embellishes royal heads with her elegant hats. Sarah Herriot imagines silver ring with twists and curls to die for. Ute Decker “goes big or goes home” with her curled and sculpted one silver-strand pieces. Tania Hall-Clarke weaves, paints and embellished leather. And we can’t forget Jenny Lewellyn who brings colour and happiness to our necks. Cockpit Arts Summer Open Studios is June 14–16. Don’t miss it.
The Best Restaurants in London
The Best-Of also includes restaurants. London has come a long way since I first lived there 30 years ago when a good pub was a fine find.
Cabotte in the city had fine fair, French service and a great opportunity to ogle well-dressed gentlemen.
The Ship Tavern near Lincoln’s Inns was your typical pub with friendly service, delicious pub food and quirky décor. It was established in 1549 and has a fascinating history.
The Gallery Mess at the Saatchi gallery in Chelsea is where ladies lunch and delicate flavours are on the menu. I don’t know about the art on the walls but it’s all in good fun.
The crown goes to the restaurant at the OXO Tower with breathtaking views of the city, an international wine list and fabulous menu.
On you way to the restaurant you can stop at some of the many studios and galleries located in the tower. My favourite is the Studio Fusion Gallery. Owned by 4 women artists, they represent, nurture and support contemporary British jewelry artists. We found some wonderful pieces there….
Join Me on My Next Journey
My 2020 London Craft Week trip will take place May 6–12. I already have some bookings which is fabulous. I am so glad this blog is inspiring you to explore, discover a city and meet new women.