Book Tickets To Fashion City

Wapping: How artist Ed J Bucknall captures snapshots of London in his creative work

Architect turned painter sells work in person at Wapping Docklands Market + Canada Water Market

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s newsletter here

“You can never run out of things to paint in London,” said Ed J Bucknall.

While he doesn’t say so explicitly during our interview, it’s clear the Wapping-based artist has a deep passion for the city around him – a deep connection to and endless fascination with the very fabric of the place.

“A lot of the inspiration for me is derived from the Thames – the changing light and the changing skyline – because London’s being constantly reconfigured,” he said.

“My works are almost snapshots to record this decade of London expanding.

“I always carry a sketchbook with me, so I’m often seen locally, sketching and drawing in pubs in winter and outdoors in summer.

“I do as much of my work as I can on location, including painting.

“I work in pen and ink, watercolour, acrylic and oils on paper, canvas and even marble.

“I’m self-taught and the nice thing is that I haven’t been moulded to a particular style or technique. I paint what I want to paint and people either like it or not.

“Over time, I’ve learnt techniques that work for me and I take inspiration from generations of amazing artists.”

Detail from Canary Wharf In Mist by Ed J Bucknall

Originally Ed trained as an architect in Leeds, before moving to London in 2011 and continuing to practise his chosen profession.

While drawing was one of the things that first attracted him to architecture, he increasingly found the digital side of his work less satisfying, which prompted a change in direction with the arrival of the pandemic.

“From an early age I’d always painted and drawn for pleasure,” he said.

“When I started as an architect, it was all rooms full of drawing boards, but with computer aided design, you hardly see anything like that now.

“I was having some success with gallery shows and selling art alongside my career as an architect and the lockdowns were the catalyst for me to move into making art full-time.

“I started selling paintings at Wapping Docklands Market at Brussels Wharf in 2021 on Saturdays and then, last year, at Canada Water Market in Deal Porter Square on Sundays.

“I was the first non-food trader at the former and that’s now brought in a lot more crafts, which have been very popular.

Detail from Great Jubilee Wharf by Ed J Bucknall

“At the same time, I exhibit full time at Skylark Galleries on the South Bank.

“Between those three, it’s been great for exposure and I’ve had a lot of success with ongoing commissions including pub signs and bespoke cards for Greene King to sell in their pubs.

“I’ve also had some of my images appear in worldwide publications.

“Art has always been my passion, but I never thought I would make ends meet as an artist.

“One of the things that has surprised and encouraged me since going full time is that it’s possible to make a living making art in London.

“Fortunately for me, my work strikes a chord with a whole range of different people – locals who have lived in the area for many years and are delighted to see an artist draw and paint what they see and experience, people moving into the area, some moving out and tourists visiting.

“I think what appeals is that my pieces are quite traditional but they are not just photos. They are my take on whatever I see inspired by a particular view or the light.”

While Ed’s work often features familiar landmarks, he’s always looking to bring a fresh perspective to the places he draws and paints.

Detail from Shadwell Basin, Wapping by Ed J Bucknall

“Low vantage points always inspire me,” he said.

“When the tide goes out and you’re down on the Thames foreshore, you see buildings and the whole of London in a different way.

“I used to kayak on the Thames, so I was privileged to see unusual views, and that’s part of my mindset. It’s escapism from the hustle and bustle of the city.

“You can be in central London, or in Wapping, just down by the water and it gives you a sense of tranquillity – although you have to be aware of the tides of course, which can also change the view as boats rise and fall.

“The sketches I do on location are much better than photographs, which can distort things – so they are my crib-sheet for working on the finished pieces in the studio.

“I find the paintings just happen – some are happy accidents and some come through skills that I’ve picked up by trial and error. 

“Some of my pieces are painted on reclaimed marble, which is quite unusual.

“They look almost three dimensional and have a connection to the history of London.

“Some of the marble I use is recycled Thames ballast that would have been dumped in the river in the 18th and 19th centuries after ships had taken on cargo.

“It has natural patterning and colouration from its time in the river and that’s something I work with.”

A sketch by Ed of the interior of The Grapes pub in Limehouse

As a registered mudlark, Ed has a physical link to both the subject of his paintings and, with the marble, the medium he works with.

“I don’t dig or scrape on the foreshore, I just pick things up from the surface,” he said.

“Anything of archaeological significance is recorded and reported to the Museum Of London.

“The Thames is like a washing machine – items just get churned up and uncovered.”

Trading at the market is another point of connection, where visitors can browse his works or chat with their creator.

“It’s been a steep learning curve but one that I’ve really enjoyed,” he said. “It’s lovely to meet both fellow traders and the general public.

Detail from Ed’s painting of Canary Wharf on reclaimed marble

“I think it’s important that people have an opportunity to speak to artists and I’ve had lovely stories of young people being inspired by my work.”

As for the future, Ed intends to continue balancing the work he wants to paint with commissions from commercial clients and individuals. 

Ed’s work is available to buy online with an extensive range of signed prints from £35 and greetings cards and postcards also available. Prices for the latter start at £2.

Detail from Ed’s painting of St Paul’s on reclaimed marble

Read more: Discover the work of fashion businesses Fabrika and Vavi Studio

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s newsletter here

- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
Subscribe To Wharf Life

Wapping: How Bread And Macaroon is expanding through its market stalls

Wapping Docklands Market and Canada Water Market regulars started bakery in Bermondsey

Bread And Macaroon co-founder Fouad Saber in Wapping

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

It’s the immediacy of contact Fouad Saber loves when it comes to markets.

The co-founder of Bread And Macaroon, which trades at Squid’s Wapping Docklands Market and Canada Water Market, relishes customers’ reactions to the breads, pastries and tarts the brand sells face-to-face.

“We started this business during lockdown,” said Fouad.

“My business partner, Bertrand Kerleo and I had both lost our jobs – everyone was stuck at home, but we saw an opportunity.

“We brought the two things we were doing together in June 2020 at a bakery in Bermondsey. If you go there, you will see it’s an open space.

“There’s a front-of-house area where you can have a coffee and so on, but you can see through to the bakery and what people are doing. 

“It’s all in front of people, which is interesting because they can see how everything is made.

“We always had a lot of interaction with our customers there and that’s what we like on the stalls too.

“We started doing markets in May 2021 and that’s one of the ways we’re growing our business. 

“You get to see what people think of your products and also it’s easier to expand like this because you can try different locations without being tied into a lease for maybe five years on a shop.”

Originally called Bread A Manger, the company has since been renamed after a David and Goliath tussle with Pret, which was apparently concerned the startup might impact its brand in the long term.

Quite where the confusion might lie is anyone’s guess as the two companies offer markedly different things – one a byword for pre-packaged convenience food and the other for wholesale and retail artisanal baked goods.

While Bertrand has an extensive background as a baker and pastry chef, Fouad brings more than 20 years of food-based business experience to the table making the pair a formidable team.

“I’ve been working in baking for about five or six years,” said Fouad. 

“Before that I was managing businesses for other people in the UK – coffee shops, for example – but I was always in hospitality.

“In France, my background was in supermarkets.

“After training as a barber originally, I started working for Carrefour just as a crew member. 

“Then in six years I became a store manager before making the move to Switzerland.

“I’m not an academic guy. I never learnt English at school and had no idea how to speak it.

“But to grow up, you need to speak it, so I decided to come to London in 2013.

“I enjoyed my time here and decided to stay. With Bread And Macaroon, we started slowly with different plans and strategies. 

“We began with retail although now about 70% of our business is in the wholesale market where we sell our products to other businesses.

“We are a fresh bakery – nearly everything is made from scratch every day because it tastes better that way, including the croissants, the cakes and the bread. 

“We are not too expensive, but we make sure we are selling quality products.

“Anything we don’t sell gets donated to charity to help those in need in Bermondsey.

“A lot of bakeries keep bread for two or three days because you can, but we’re French – we believe you lose flavour that way.

“Our tarts are our main business and the most popular flavour is the lemon curd.

“They really are very refined – you can’t really find this product elsewhere in London, and this is why they are successful.

“For the filling, the curd takes 48 hours to make. We cook the lemon juice in a bain-marie with eggs and cream and then pipe it onto the tart while it’s still warm.

“Then it goes straight into the freezer – from 30ºC to -18ºC so it retains its shape, topped with an edible flower as a finishing touch.”

Bread And Macaroon sells a wide range of sweet and savoury pastries at Wapping Docklands Market and Canada Water Market

With costs rising, Bread And Macaroon’s first priority is to weather the economic storm by tailoring the products it offers to the new conditions.

After that, it plans to expand its retail offering through more stalls.

“In the next five years, we expect to have a presence at five or six more markets,” said Fouad.

“Of course people can order our products online – and we love that. But you don’t get the same level of interaction or the atmosphere of coming to a market if you do that.

“I grew up with French markets, which typically sell fruit and vegetables, so that’s different again. Here you get street food and all sorts of other things.

“For me, the difference between a shop and a market is that people who come to our stalls are out in the fresh air – it’s a destination. 

“Going to a shop is more just for shopping and I think over the next 40 years, that attraction will never change.”

Bread And Macaroon can be found at Wapping Docklands Market on Saturdays at Brussels Wharf beside Shadwell Basin and Canada Water Market at Deal Porter Square on Sundays. Both run from 10am-4pm.

Its shop can be found at Market Place in Bermondsey and orders can be placed online for most items including cakes and special requests.

Follow Bread And Macaroon on Insta here.

THREE OF THE BEST

We’ve selected three treats from Bread And Macaroon that are must-tries if you’re visiting the markets:

Bread And Macaroon’s top selling Lemon Curd Tart

1. First on the list is the Lemon Curd Tart – the brand’s top seller – which costs £4.99. Piled high, this vertical wonder is both mouth and Instagram-ready thanks to its floral decoration and glossy, zesty topping

The brand’s Galette Des Rois

2. Next up is the festive Galette Des Rois. Served on special occasions at family gatherings, this regal bake has a coin inside. Everyone sits round, takes a slice and the person with the treasure gets to be king or queen for a day. The crown is, of course, included for £12

Rosemary foccacia is available for £3

3. Our final pick is this deeply savoury bread. Costing just £3, this sea salt and rosemary foccacia is ideal for taking home and dipping or slicing for use in sandwiches. It’s a decent size and would also go well with a hearty winter soup

Read more: How Clays’ new bar has Canary Wharf in its sights

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
Subscribe To Wharf Life

Canada Water: What Squid Markets’ Canada Water Market offers shoppers

Company behind Wapping Docklands Market expands to Deal Porter Square, south of the Thames

Canada Water Market on its very first day of trading

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

Not to be confused with South Korean ultraviolent Netflix phenomenon Squid Game, Squid Markets has reached a milestone.

On the first birthday of its first successful project – Wapping Docklands Market at Brussels Wharf – it unveiled a second, this time south of the Thames. 

Even for its first iteration on Easter Sunday (April 17, 2022), it was clear Canada Water Market is the right thing in the right place. 

Despite hordes of Londoners heading off to see families, the traders, street food vendors and refreshment stalls were doing brisk business at Deal Porter Square – something that will doubtless continue as the market is set to run every Sunday outside the library from 10am until 4pm.

It offers visitors a heady blend of live music, cuisines from around the world, German beer, wine, baked goods, fresh produce, crafts and art – a place to shop, but also to meet, eat, drink and be merry as the sun sparkles on the waters of the nearby dock.

Squid Markets founder Will Cutteridge

The divide created by the Thames itself was indirectly the inspiration for Squid’s latest venture – a physical obstacle that Londoners have been working to overcome (somewhat unsuccessfully) for hundreds of years.

While previous generations have tried tunnelling to connect Wapping and Rotherhithe, for Squid founder Will Cutteridge the solution was simpler – take what already works in one location and replicate it in another.

“We know at Wapping Docklands Market that the majority of our customers come from north of the river,” he said.

“So I thought we should have a market south of the Thames but in relatively close proximity to our first operation. 

“That way we’re able to start to grow the brand both in east and south-east London. That’s when I started looking for sites – literally on Google Maps, zooming into open spaces.

“Because London is so densely packed, if there’s a large open space it’s pretty obvious and I began looking in Rotherhithe and Deal Porter Square seemed the obvious place to do it – it was the right sort of area for what we’re offering.”

Art by Ed J Bucknall on sale at the market – more here

With swathes of regeneration already completed – and a great deal more in pipeline – the peninsula has seen a steady increase in population with new businesses and ventures arriving in the area. So what is Squid bringing to that mix?

“Canada Water is, like Wapping, primarily a food market,” said Will.

“We want people to come and do their weekly shop with us, get all their fruit and veg, their bread and all the standard items, while also grabbing a coffee and catching up with their neighbours.

“One of the most exciting things that we’ve seen at Wapping is that it has brought the local community together.

“People who live in the same building, right across the corridor from each other and have never spoken, have met at the market, and I think that’s the joy of something like this.

“That’s exactly what we want to create at Canada Water – something that brings people together in an old-fashioned way. 

“I think that’s important in this day and age, because people don’t talk to each other in London very much and the market provides a friendly environment where they can.

Produce from Chegworth Valley is also available – more here

“You go to the supermarket, pick up a bunch of carrots and put them in your basket, and it’s not very immersive or interactive.

“If you buy a bunch of carrots from our Chegworth Valley stall, the team running it all live and work on the farm – they pick the fruit, plant the seeds, and you’re meeting the people who grow your food – you have a dialogue with them, come back every week and it’s always the same people.

“We also have a small craft section in all our markets, because we tend to find that there’s a lot of local people who have a side gig making things.

“For example, we have a a guy who hand-makes all his terrariums – Plant And Person – which is quite cool.

“Hosting those pitches is a great way to get local businesses to the market, and it provides a bit of variety in addition to the food itself.

“We also have a local artist – Ed Bucknall – who sells his works, and one lady who takes all of our empty bottles from the wine stall at the end of the day and uses them to make candles.

Cheese from The French Comte – more here

“Street food is, of course, a critical part of our operation – visitors to the market can do their shopping and then listen to some live music, have a beer or a glass of wine and then grab a pizza, some curry, steak or a wide variety of Asian food.

“There’s also a guy selling Portuguese sandwiches and vegan Caribbean food from Joy’s Caribbean Fusion, so there’s a lot to choose from.

“Our plan is to have a total of 35 traders here, which is enough to provide a really good mix of food, produce and services – we’re always on the look out for new traders, so anyone interested should get in touch.

“We might have re-branded, but we remain hugely passionate about sustainability – it’s incredibly challenging but it’s something we remain focused on.

“One of the ways in which Squid does this is to find small businesses through its markets and help them build their brands nationally – we’re always seeking really interesting food producers that we can go into partnership with.”

Spinach rolls for £4 from Rodgis – more here

Read more: How Canada Water Dockside will transform Rotherhithe

Read Wharf Life’s e-edition here

Subscribe to Wharf Life’s weekly newsletter here

- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via jon.massey@wharf-life.com
Subscribe To Wharf Life