the origin of all things

1. claire brewster 2. betty pepper 3. hannah turner 4. caren garfen 5. anya keeley 6. lowri davies 7. becky adams 8. rebecca coles 9. rebecca wilson ceramics

so i dragged my sick self out of bed this morning and headed into town to attend the first of many london design festival events going on this weekend. first stop was the origin craft fair being held at spitalfields market in east london.

origin is the uk crafts council’s annual showcase of original contemporary craft, which brings together 220 of the most innovative british and international craft makers, and offers visitors a rare chance to buy directly from the makers and meet them face to face. already bustling when i got there at 11am, by the time i left there was a queue snaking all around the venue so i think it is fair to say the event was a roaring success!

the fair was filled to the brim with original and quirky exhibitors showcasing everything from jewellery to furniture, and it was hard to pick just a few of my favourite exhibitors to share with you! the first designer to catch my attention was anya keeley, whose stand was filled with spectators marvelling at her collection of found objects and ephemera,  which she had assembled into whimsical works of art inspired by fantastical fairy tales, nursery rhymes and the curiousness of the natural world. “i try to envisage the oddities that many victorian explorers could have encountered on their voyages to different lands,” she says, “these whimsies are then caged, named and categorized to create a museum of my own fantasy.”

i was also drawn by the work of claire brewster whose art is about retrieving the discarded, celebrating the unwanted and giving new life to the obsolete. claire uses old and out of date maps and atlases as her fabric with which to create her intricate, delicate and detailed cut outs which are pinned either directly on to the wall as a large scale installation or captured in box frames. the shadows created when light is shined on them gives them a 3 dimensional quality and creates a feeling of movement.

my highlight of the show was betty pepper‘s fabulous collection of textiles and jewellery. the recycling of old garments and fabric is an important element of her work, and the jewellery she creates uses  ageing fabrics that seem to have tales of their own to tell, and are inspired by stories, memories, things from the past, over-hearings and misgivings.  i particularly loved the way she displayed her jewellery on love worn books which the jewellery seems to find companionship with, like an old forgotten friend.


  1. Carole

    25 September

    Hi Kate, my faves were also Claire Brewster and Rebecca Coles – so talented. Great event. x

    • Claire

      26 September

      Hi Thanks for mentioning me in your blog and glad you enjoyed Origin Claire

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