Last week was full of London Craft Week events, workshops and open houses. A few of which we had the delight to attend including an open house and embroidery demonstration at Erdem, an exhibition of embroidery artist Rosalind Wyatt’s work and a talk and demonstration by the Heritage Craft Association on the red list of endangered crafts.
We also have enjoyed participating ourselves with twice daily live stitching on display in The Service on Savile Row – thank you to everyone who came to see us!
TOAST & Rosalind Wyatt
We started the week with a trip to lifestyle brand TOAST’s London store where they were running a series of workshops and an exhibition of Textile Artist Rosalind Wyatt’s work titled ‘Stories through Stitches’
Rosalind Wyatt is a mixed-media and embroidery artist, most recognised for her embroidered letters and calligraphy. Some of these beautiful pieces were on show in store!
She considers handwriting a significant part of culture and people’s lives. Where calligraphy and cloth meet in her work signifies the emotion held in the textiles, emotions found in handwritten letters
She writes with her needle onto garments people have worn, encapsulating their emotions into their clothes.
TOAST was also running a live workshop where participants leant the art of mixed-media textiles. The workshop aimed to promote a more thoughtful way of life, sustaining traditional textiles techniques and craftsmanship.
Erdem Open House and Demonstration
We were then lucky enough to attend Erdem’s open house to see some of their embroidery in process.
The demonstration featured a neckline for one of their dresses, being embellished in large crystals and beads on a frame, the dress itself was also on display in store to allow viewers to see the final outcome.
Erdem is a womenswear brand, based out of central London. Their collections are often finished with hand and machine embroidery – it was wonderful to see some of these samples too which were on show alongside the demonstration.
Heritage Crafts Association Endangered Crafts
To end our London Craft Week adventures, we finally had the pleasure of attending the Heritage Crafts Association event held at Fortnum and Mason. Fortnum and Mason are known for their long-associated traditions with craft and quality – the perfect venue to hold this event!
Exhibiting their work was ‘Paula Carnell’ a Bee Skep Maker, ‘Coates English Willow’ who are a company of Basketwork Furniture Makers and ‘Ernest Wright’ who is a traditional Scissor Maker. These crafts are all at risk with Scissor Making and Basketwork Furniture Making being Critically Endangered.
Basketwork Furniture making is a recognisable craft, however is critically endangered as only one company which supports the craft is left. P.H Coate & Son was founded in 1819, and although the business has a new apprentice this wonderful craft is at risk!
The straw baskets used in Beekeeping, known as Bee Skeps are beautiful objects in and of themselves. The straw is twisted and bound in a continuous coil of lipwork with lapping (lapping can be made from bramble, willow and hazel). Whilst highly practical the craft started to wane after the First World War as Skep making is a highly time-consuming craft compared to its value.
The final endangered craft on display was scissor making. One of the last remaining companies to produce this craft is Ernest Wright. The scissors are very high quality and long lasting – a durable crafted item.
We hope you have enjoyed London Craft Week as much as we have, thank you to all of the wonderful events that we attended!
More information about endangered crafts can be found on Heritage Crafts Association’s website
Words by and Images: Rosie Watkins