Friday, 24 September 2010


I've just had a lovely couple of days - I sneaked off down to London all by myself.  I know that might seem a bit odd to some but having grown up around London I feel quite comfortable there and it is a real luxury being able to go and see just what I want.

So I had a mooch around the shops, including Liberty and Anthropologie, and went to the V&A (of course).
Framed - an installation at the V&A for London Design Week

But the main purpose of my trip was so that I could visit Origin - The London Contemporary Craft Fair.  I wanted to have a good look round to see what is considered 'the best' in contemporary crafts and to see if it would help me decide which direction I want to take when I start my degree next week.  The degree course gives you the opportunity to explore wood, ceramic, glass and metal before deciding which area to specialise in. 

The work I found most interesting at Origin was from makers who mixed materials (do click on the links), such as Sarah Thirlwell who mixes turned wood with recycled plastic to great effect, and Grace Girvan whose beautiful jewellery combines enamelled silver with found objects.  A very popular booth was that of Anya Keeley who makes whimsical creatures by combining brass wire with vintage papers.  And I was thrilled to see Debbie Smyth at work in her booth - the boys and I have been fans of hers since we saw her depiction of the Runcorn Bridge a couple of years ago.

Runcorn Bridge (detail) by Debbie Smyth

Last but not least, I treated myself to a lovely bag from Melissa Simpson - isn't it a great colour?

And did it help with my decision?  Well, yes and no.  I think I have ruled out specialising in ceramics (although I would like to experiment with porcelain) but I was very taken by some of the work in wood, which is an area I really hadn't considered before...


Helen Smith, artist and maker in glass, print and stitch.


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