London Craft Week is a great opportunity to see wonderful makers from further afield as well as the UK, but the brochure and website are tricky to navigate, and some “events” seem to be simply plugs for luxury brands.
This year I made it to three venues. There was lots to see, but here I will focus mainly on basketry (surprise!). Warning – this is a bit of an image-heavy post!
Several galleries took over different rooms in this series of interconnected townhouses in South Kensington. My main motivation to visit was to see the exquisite horsehair vessels woven by the Korean artist Dahye Jeong, who won the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in 2022. Inspired by traditional Korean headwear, her transparent pieces are breathtakingly intricate.
In the same building, the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute was focusing on weaving, including basket weaving. Pieces on show included hexagonal plaiting, twill weaving, and coiling, mostly in rattan and bamboo but also shell ginger, which I had not heard of before.
High Commission of Malaysia
Among the displays of Malaysian textile traditions, including ikat, beadwork, and embroidery, was some superlative plaiting. Particularly impressive were the pointed hats, or topi tunjang, many of which were made by master plaiter Senia Jugi. I attended a workshop with her to make a plaited ring, which was difficult enough!
There were also some splendid twill plaited bags and mats, many made with pandanus leaves.
And some elegant, minimal coiled vessels.
Bargehouse at Oxo Tower Wharf
More than 70 different makers curated by Future Icons included a couple of basketry/weaving displays. Lizzie Kimbley‘s cordage nests were made from leaves gathered from the grounds of Blickling Hall in Norfolk, while Patrizia Sascor creates contemporary willow baskets.
However, I have to admit that I keep getting distracted by the colours and textures of the building itself, in various stages of decay.