As a neighbourhood renowned for its history of fine craftsmanship, we’re thrilled to see the resurgence of traditional artistry taking place worldwide. Celebrating the wealth of these heritage techniques, alongside the very latest in designer and maker creativity, is the annual curated events series London Craft Week. Here are some highlights from the St James’s hub, explore these and more from 8th – 12th of May.
Cut a shirt and craft a bag
For a brilliantly one of a kind experience, there’s a rare chance to be welcomed into Budd Shirtmakers cosy Piccadilly Arcade cutting room, from where personalised sartorial creations emerge, just as they have done for generations. Join Budd’s resident experts for a demonstration and talk (9th and 10th May) on the refined art of bespoke shirtmaking. If leather is more of your bag, Budd also host Tusting, who will travel from their Buckinghamshire home to run two special masterclasses in the city (11th and 12th of May) revealing their skilled heritage bag making techniques. Similarly, Church’s on Jermyn Street will be showcasing how they craft their fine leather shoes (8th and 11th of May).
Make sure you pass by D. R. Harris’s delightful Victorian apothecary, where celebrated goldsmith, enameller and engraver, Harry Forster-Stringer explores the ancient, intricate methods that are his speciality on 12th of May. From preparing the silver or gold for the work, through to firing the final piece in a kiln, he’ll talk guests through the process and answer questions.
Creative arts and balms
Some events run throughout the week, such as Fortnum & Mason’s exhibition of multi-disciplinary objects from seven talented makers based at nearby creative hub Cockpit Arts. Dover Street Market features a contemporary selection of Korean crafts direct from Seoul’s LVS&Craft gallery, and more intriguingly yet, Anatomē uses London Craft Week to launch the city’s first ‘sleep bar’. Visitors will be presented with a series of forms, colours, sounds and textures to build their uniquely, personalised sleep map. Then a bespoke oil blend is concocted from Somalian frankincense, Japanese seaweed or Roman chamomile to cure snooze-related ailments and aid a perfect night of quality shut-eye.
Delight all the senses
Maison Assouline will be showcasing contemporary tableware in what they are calling The Italian Table; and look out for the drinks reception event (9th of May) to taste a selection of food and wines too. Further craft you can imbibe will be present during a talk and tasting (11th of May) from cult Islay single malt specialist Bruichladdich Distillery held at historic Berry Bros & Rudd. Or you can craft your very own scent, at a perfume workshop at Floris. See our guide for more information.
Big birthday, big celebration
Do also look out for 235-year-old knitwear specialists John Smedley celebrating their amazing anniversary with a brace of events, including curating the latest exhibit at the St James’s Market Pavilion. This rotating free exhibition will cover multiple craft-related themes, changing every eight weeks between now and March next year. For London Craft Week they are bringing this to life, holding a panel discussion (10th of May) from featured stone artist Zoe Wilson and ceramic artist Alice Walton alongside the eight-generation Smedley family host, Ian Maclean. And the 11th May sees further craft disciplines explored, as luthier Tom Sands talks about his artisan guitars, with musician Will McNicol playing his own music on them.
Full details of the London Craft Week programme and information to purchase tickets for those with limited places can be found here.