Unless you count the occasional bit of DIY, I am far from what you might consider a “craftsman” – so people who have a specific skill that becomes a real life object are, quite frankly, awe-inspiring to me. With that in mind, you can understand why London Craft Week is one of my favourite events in the capital. Running from 8 to 12 May, it’s a five-day extravaganza of craftsmanship, where a whole selection of companies and artisans throw open their workshop doors to give us a glimpse at how they make their wares. The best part about it is that there’s no barrier to being on the programme – whether a global brand or a one-man band, the sheer variety of events and skills on show is staggering. From the Japanese art of metallic ceramic repair to pouring your own scented candles to an inside look at Wales’ coolest jeans-maker, here are a few of my schedule highlights. If needed, I suggest you book a place sooner rather than later…
Artisan Workshop: Card Case & Key Fob Making
While Dunhill is known better today for its sharp tailoring, it was founded back in 1893 to outfit people getting onto the then-newfangled motoring craze – so it makes sense that key fobs are still a large part of the label’s business. This workshop at Dunhill’s factory in Walthamstow will be great as not only do you get to see how the brand makes its leathergoods, but you also get to take a personalised example home yourself.
10 May 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 5pm; 11 May 9am to 12pm, at the Dunhill workshop, 32 St Andrews Road, Walthamstow, London E17 6BQ. londoncraftweek.com
Scented Candle-Making Masterclass with Earl of East London
My house is filled with more scented candles than I’d care to count, including one by Earl of East in my bedroom (Atlas Cedar, to be specific). However, what I don’t have is any of the brand’s new bath salts – which I’m keen to learn more about (and make) at this workshop.
8 May 11am to 12.30pm; 11 May 10.15am to 11:45am at Earl of East, Bonds, Stable Street, London N1C 4AB. londoncraftweek.com
The Art of Repair: Kintsugi at Wagumi
I have always found the Japanese process of repairing precious pottery with lacquer and metal, not superglue, absolutely stunning. This workshop, which includes a lecture on the art of repair as well as a Japanese small plate and incense holder to work on (and take home), for me, is unmissable.
9, 11 and 12 May, 11.30am to 1.30pm, 1.30pm to 3.30pm, 4pm to 6pm, 6pm to 8pm at Wagumi, 1.08 Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1 9PH. londoncraftweek.com
Daylesford Explores the Craft of the Tabletop
Speak to anyone who I’ve ever sent a thank you letter to and they’ll tell you I have abysmal spider-like handwriting. For the benefit of those people, I feel that calligraphy is a skill I should probably learn sooner rather than later – plus any excuse to spend far too much on baked goods and cheese at Daylesford is a good one, in my opinion.
£75 to £145 for workshop places, 8 to 11 May, 6.30pm to 8.30pm at Daylesford, 44B Pimlico Road, Belgravia, London SW1W 8LP. londoncraftweek.com
Erdem’s Personal Art Collection
Yes, you could go to his shop and drink in the designer’s stunning art collection any time – but I feel those Warhols and Cocteaus will look even better with a glass or two of complementary champagne.
8 to 11 May, 10am to 6pm at Erdem, 70 South Audley Street, London W1K 2RA. londoncraftweek.com
Hiut Denim at the Office of the Secretary of State for Wales
As a dedicated devotee of double denim, getting an insight into Hiut – a seriously cool jeansmaker based in a tiny Welsh town where ten per cent of the community is employed by the brand – is one not to pass up.
8 May, 4pm to 6pm at Office of the Secretary of State for Wales, Gwydyr House, Whitehall, London SW1A 2NP. londoncraftweek.com