The Westferry Road venue will see more than 30 makers selling products at its festive event
The mercury is falling and the faint whiff of spiced pumpkin lattes is receding.
At the time of writing, the buzz of Bonfire Night is everywhere.
The anticipation of the first frost is in the air too – the coming chill that makes the cosiness of the festive season all the more welcome.
Promising a Japanese pop-up cafe, mulled wine and a warm welcome from more than 30 designer-makers, Craft Central’s annual weekend Winter Market is set to be held this month.
Opening 11am-5pm on November 18 and 19, 2023, at The Forge on Westferry Road, the event offers visitors the chance to get their festive shopping sorted with a wide range of products including accessories, fashion, jewellery, ceramics, stationery, prints and textiles available to purchase.
Craft Central event coordinator, Marguerite Metz, said: “We invite makers from our wider network to come and sell in our gallery space for this annual event, so we have a lovely mix of applied arts and crafts as well as some of the studio holders at The Forge.
“It’s a great community event for locals and people throughout London to come to – we had about 1,000 last year.
“The building itself is quite unusual and lots of people walk past and have no idea what’s inside.
“It’s not normally open to the public, so this is a chance for people who are interested in what’s going on to visit.
“The makers we have are all lovely and they really enjoy it.
“They like it because it’s easy for them to showcase their products, due to the people who come and also the relaxed atmosphere it has.
“The market is not-for-profit, we do it to support the makers and to show the community the possibilities of making.
“It only works if local people come and take advantage of the chance to visit and support the people trading, so we want to welcome as many as possible.”
Makers trading at the market will include Diaphane Candles, artist Almha McCartan, Anonoma Jewellery, Ark Jewellery, embroiderer Beatrice Mayfield, Bibba London (jewellery), Brûler Candles and By Kala X (products made with African prints).
Also attending will be Caroline Nuttall-Smith (printmaker and ceramicist), Elektra Kamoutsis (ceramicist), Forge + Thread (accessories), Frank Horn (leatherwork), Gruff Turnery (wood turning)Heim Design (concrete products) Kam Creates (jewellery) Karn’s Textile design, Kate Hodgson Jewellery, Maria Maya (homeware), Mark Waite Paintings and Morgan Amber (textiles).
As if that wasn’t enough, Mountain And Molehill (lampshades), Noriko Nagaoka Ceramics, Pipet Design (silk scarves), Tomoko Hori Jewellery And Object Sato Hisao (paper crafts), Suzie Lee Knitwear, Tangent Accessories and Ted Houghton Studio (knitwear), will be there too.
The Winter Market will also be hosting two drop-in workshops where visitors can get creative.
On the Saturday, Funky Jewellery Making will offer participants the chance to transform a variety of vintage objects, images and unusual items into bespoke jewellery.
People are welcome to bring their own objects to incorporate into their designs or to draw on the selection provided.
All attachments and jewellery findings will be included.
Marguerite said: “Visitors might create surreal pieces of jewellery, with fun items to put together for themselves or make unique pieces that will be perfect for a Christmas gift.
“People are welcome to upcycle odd bits-and-bobs.”
On the Sunday, designer Georgia Bosson will be hosting Festive Block Printing with participants able to create a piece of textile wrapping paper or a Christmas card using hand-carved wooden blocks. The activity is suitable for ages 5+.
“Using textile wrapping paper is a Japanese tradition and it’s sustainable because it’s reusable,”said Marguerite.
“If they wanted to, people could come on Saturday and make a present, before returning on Sunday to create the wrapping.
“These workshops are part of Craft Central’s duty to help bring craft to people.”
The suggested donation for both sessions, which run from 12.30pm-4.30pm on a drop-in basis, is £5.
Some makers with studios at The Forge will also be opening these up for visitors to see during the event, including Crushed Pearl (floristry), Pon Studios (ceramics), Tanya Roya (artist), Olive Road, (vintage fabrics) and SilPhi Glass (jewellery).
Craft Central, in addition to being a provider of studio spaces for designer makers at The Forge, is always looking to extend and grow its network.
To that end, the charity is introducing a new tiered membership scheme with the aim of getting more people involved in its activities.
Its basic package includes access to an insurance scheme for craft workers and designer makers as well as inclusion in its online directory. The package costs £53 per year.
There’s also an enhanced package for £99, which includes a selection of discounts on markets and activities as well as access to community programmes and business advice.
The top £199 premium package is available to established artists or makers and is by application only.
It includes a range of substantial discounts as well as use of The Forge’s exhibition and workshop space for free.
“We wanted to offer different options so that people can easily access Craft Central,” said Anne-Sophie Cavil, who handles communications and marketing for the organisation.
“A graduate, for example, might take a basic membership, while more established makers might choose the enhanced or premium options, that offer a range of benefits.
“The one you choose will depend on where you are in your career.”
Find out more about Craft Central 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 firstname.lastname@example.org