London Craft Week 2021: Design-Nation Showcase

London Craft Week 2021: Design-Nation Showcase

London Craft Week (LCW) is an annual event to celebrate the best of craft in Britain. It emphasizes the skills of makers across many disciplines. Centered around the capital, artisans demonstrate, exhibit and give talks. This year many events also took place online. Fiona J Sperryn was one of the artists who showcased her works during the Craft Week held in October and she tells us more about the event, her experiences and her woven entry at the LCW…

Design-Nation (DN) is a friendly professional organization, which supports contemporary designers and craftspeople from across the UK. It was fun to be part of their multi-disciplinary showcase for LCW 2021. 25 makers were selected to share recent work, which included weave, glass, ceramics, hand and machine embroidery, and wood. We were asked to consider what makes ‘good modern craft’.

The online programme of free DN events included the launch of a film made with makers by craft film specialists, R&A Collaborations. In a virtual workshop, each participant was guided to film themselves and their work in their studio. Having created teaching videos during the pandemic, I was lucky to have got over some of the initial shock of hearing and seeing myself on screen! As makers these days we are so often expected to document our process that I have taken to creating videos as I weave and these proved useful. All video and still footage was transferred to the film editors and they worked their magic. It’s a fascinating film full of insights into people’s practice and is available online. Link HERE .

Shallows: Depth

Sometimes with an online exhibition it’s tricky to keep up the momentum for the duration of the show. I decided it was important to volunteer for events. For the ‘On My Workbench’ series, 15 artists invited viewers into their studios on Zoom. I became nervous and excited in anticipation. I introduced my wonderful loom, held up work to camera and talked about off loom finishing. The series was again such an interesting insight into craft processes.

Another recorded event was a discussion between makers, ‘What Makes Good Modern Craft?’ Having introduced ourselves and shown examples of some of the makers who inspire us, it felt like we just scratched the surface of the subject. More fun was had in a few less formal Instagram Live chats during the week. It was great to meet fellow creatives in maker-to-maker chats. I have to admit to using a filter for the Sunday chat after a long week online! You can find these IGTV videos @fionajsperryn.

I have come away from London Craft Week inspired by the many parallels between makers’ work and processes. I’m constantly re-examining my own artwork and it would be great to try some cross-disciplinary collaboration. After a busy week, I will enjoy exploring my many ideas in the peace of my studio – offline and with the video off I think!

All recordings can be found HERE and on Vimeo.

Other useful links: Design-Nation, London Craft Week, Fiona Sperryn’s website and Instagram @fionajsperryn