Cutting Edge Craft


For the last two weeks the Society of Designer Craftsmen has been transformed into a space bursting with cutting edge craft. We filled it with a collection of work handpicked by us from twelve artists and it made for an arresting show.

We had a stunning spread of work priced from from £25 to £25,000. Alongside the main work, we had also asked some artists to create a limited edition of 25 pieces priced at a more affordable £50. Whenever curating these shows, we are always surprised how well a diverse group of work sits together and we start to see threads of similarity that can be drawn between pieces.

It’s a process that I love and it gives one an interesting insight into the exhibiting process that one doesn’t necessarily have as a maker. Taking the overview of the curator can only strengthen one’s own practice, though the inevitable usually happens which is that one promotes everyone else’s work and forgets about one’s own work!

We held a packed private view sponsored by Grolsch and supported by the London Design Festival. A fabulous craft-driven crowd spilled out of the space into the street, which made for a buzzy evening. The three of us who organised – Alex R, Brett Manley and Lucy Batt – were really happy with the quality of the show.


Designed | Crafted 2015

I’m delighted to announce our new Designed | Crafted exhibition for London Design Festival 2015. We will be returning for the second year running to the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery in Shoreditch. We have a final list of twelve artists – some of whom we’ve worked with before and invited back, and some of whom are new artists we have plucked from the membership of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. We are super excited that one of our artists will be the international maker Andrew Logan who is renowned for the flair and fantasy in his sculptural pieces.

Our showcase explores the fine line between craft and design, showing contemporary work at its best in this delightfully intimate gallery in the heart of Shoreditch. From sand–etched glass and wood, embellished textiles and porcelain to bird skulls and preserved fish skins, this is where cutting edge crafts meets dreamland.

To read about all the artists, see our website.

We will be open from 11am-7pm every day from Monday 14 to Saturday 26 September.

To attend the Private View on Tuesday 22nd September (7-9pm) either reply below or send us a tweet @DesignedCrafted

Lobster Sandwich

Sandwiched between a week of running workshops on my school project and a week of making the final work for the project, I had a three day show in West Dean. Had I known my timetable at the time of booking, I probably wouldn’t have attempted to do my first show in a couple of years right in the middle of a commission! So, unbelievably, it was not until the actual morning of the set up day that I even got round to thinking about my stand. But with years of experience at trade shows and selling shows and a full selection of furniture to fit stands of all sizes, it wasn’t the huge challenge that it used to be.

A few hours later I arrived at West Dean College where the sight of two massive lobster claws emerging from the building set the surreal celebratory tone for the weekend. Set up was unbelievably easy, with access straight into the workshop which had been transformed into an exhibition venue. Nevertheless I was feeling a bit rusty at talking to the public about my work and I had a slow first day at the show.

I was staying at the college as a paying guest and for the first time in nine years of visiting West Dean College I actually felt like a guest rather than an employee. My evenings were my own, to wander the grounds or to relax in the Oak Hall. At least they would have been were I not also having to prepare for a talk and demonstration that I had been asked to give on the second morning in the Creative Hub marquee. I had a full house (or at least a full tent!) with about 60 people coming to hear my talk about “Printing Stories on Glass” and I was filmed demonstrating the making of my next product which involves a few different printing techniques.

Getting back to my little stand in the exhibiting area, it was an enormous relief to only having to be talking to the one or two people that squeeze onto my stand at a time!

One Hour Out

Exhibiting at the Dulwich Open House can be exhausting but I’ve learned to take some time to go and look at other houses. I had just an hour to discover some local treasures, so I stuck to my immediate vicinity.

Right on my own doorstep, The Stromboli Group had cleared two floors of another Pymers Mead house to stage ‘The Occupation’, a mixed media group exhibition of work from seven different artists. I rather fell in love with Laura Orsini’s decoupage animals which were sunning themselves on a table in the window.

Next I dropped in on Vicky and Hannah from Hello Geronimo who make contemporary prints and wall art from buttons. Their map of Britain created with colourful buttons made me smile, especially when I spotted the Fab Four badge to stand for Liverpool.

Turning back towards West Dulwich I popped over to see Catherine Mitchell who sets up her living room as a shop three times a year to sell her lovely jewellery to a loyal crowd. Her beautiful house makes the perfect pop up boutique for her jewellery made of semi precious gems and freshwater pearls.

Next I thought I should check on my dutiful son who was running a stall for me at the Love West Dulwich spring fair. He appeared to have recruited a friend to help so I was reassured that they were managing just fine selling to the shoppers in the sunshine. The fair was great with vintage funfair rides and choirs singing as I passed… as I found out later there was a footfall of 3000 in our locale for the fair so there was a great turnout.

Finally I went to investigate the building behind the Dulwich Bakery, which I’ve always wondered about. The various buildings between the bakery and the row of houses have always intrigued me as I’ve always thought they’d make a great studio set up…. and sure enough, that’s exactly what they’re being used for.

Orginally the outbuildings for the Victorian bakehouse housing the ovens and the kitchens, these buildings are now being used by the Half Moon Studios who are a group of printmakers that moved from Herne Hill. And what a wonderful set up it was! I spent quite a while chatting with Sonia Rollo and Susie Perring, both of whom turned out to be the mothers of girls I used to know at primary school!

Upstairs were further spaces occupied by more artists and I was thrilled to discover a micro architectural practice which specialise in sustainable urbanism. A Small Studio is run by Helena Rivera but her collaborator Roger Allen was representing her on the day and so I had a good chat with him about a very exciting project that could be in the offing for me but, for now, will remain secret.

All in all, an hour well spent.

Two Sunny Weekends in May

The weather has been unusually capricious – yesterday there was bright morning sunshine, torrential rain at lunchtime, a warm sunny afternoon followed by a sudden spate of hailstones (!), and then a sunny but absolutely freezing cold evening. And it has been this changeable for the last two weeks, but somehow – for once – the Dulwich Open House event struck gold with two weekends of balmy summer sun.

My house looked gorgeous – even if I do say so myself! The walls were adorned with Charlotte Kessler’s exquisite paintings and my glasswork and until the art was up on the walls we hadn’t quite appreciated how well our work goes together.

Bees and butterflies had a strong presence in the house and our combined work created a very feminine spirit in the space, picking up on universal themes of love and nature.

Colour is very important to both of us, and it was wonderful to see how the colours seemed to reflect

On the second weekend I managed to get out and have a look at some of my neighbouring Open Houses. Read about them here

Artists’ Open House

In less than three weeks 200 artists’ houses in and around Dulwich will be opening their doors to a stream of visitors as part of the Dulwich Festival. The Artists’ Open House is now an established event in the calendar and people come from far and wide to visit the artists and see (and buy) their work in the context of their own homes. Local businesses are now involved and so you will find art installations popping up in estate agents or local cafes, as well as a handful of markets and fairs which centre around the Dulwich Festival.

Over the last couple of years there has been a coordinated effort by the Dulwich Picture Gallery to invite twenty of the world’s leading street artists to study their Baroque paintings and reinterpret them in their own style on walls and pavements around Dulwich, and during the Festival there will be a guided walk with the organiser to take in this Dulwich Outdoor Gallery. There are also numerous talks, walks, recitals and demonstrations happening all around the area which draw thousands of visitors to the Dulwich Festival.

Charlotte Kessler | Alex R
I am celebrating my tenth year in business and so I thought it would be nice to open up my space to some other work. Charlotte Kessler of Lemonstone Art paints mesmerising images in oils and acrylics, drawing on themes of love, nature, dreams and freedom of spirit. I fell in love with her work just before Christmas when I bought two of her prints for my family, and as they sat so well with my own work I have invited her to co-exhibit with me during the Artists’ Open House. Together we are showing a captivating collection of work across three storeys of the house and studio which will explore the magical interplay between glass and paintings in a space bursting with poetical imagery and wonder.

Five Houses
We warmly invite you to come and visit, and as further encouragement we have joined forces with four other artists’ houses in the immediate vicinity to create our own cluster of exciting work within the larger event. Open across two weekends, our ‘Five Houses in Five Minutes’ is a mini trail which will take in jewellery, print and collage, upcycled craft and mixed media, and fine art as well as my glass. We hope you can come and bring your family and friends to enjoy a day out in Dulwich.

Artists’ Open House: 9th-10th May and 16th-17th May, 11am-6pm.

 The Glass Studio | 47 Pymers Mead, London SE21 8NH

New Website!

New Website

I am thrilled to announce the launch of my new website! It has been such a long time coming, and has involved various false starts all due to my terrible perfectionism! But it is here and I’m sure you will agree it is a vast improvement on my old website, which I designed 10 years ago and was beginning to look very creaky.

For a start, the new website is an e-commerce site, which means you can buy my products directly through the site. If you are a trade buyer, you will be happy to know that there is a whole secret trade shop which you will be able to access with a trade password which you will be given on stockist approval. Trade buyers will be able to buy directly and instantly from the website but if you prefer to remain on a 30 day invoice you will still be able to order over the phone or by email as before. I can still accept payment via most credit and debit cards.


Secondly you will see that there are lots of lovely new photographs showing my products in every available colour and design. I have finally got to grips with my camera and lighting equipment that I’ve owned for many years but never quite understood how to use! All the photos have been taken by me, except for the pictures of myself and my studio which were taken by my talented photographer friend Carine Lucchese.

Thirdly, you will see that are lots of extra pages which I hope will give you a glimpse behind the scenes and give you a sense of what I like. I will be making moodboards every so often and putting them up on the website. Once upon a time – when I had a lot more time on my hands than I do now – I used to love making collages to bring together my favourite images, and I still have old sketchbooks full of them. My website moodboards will be a digital version of these, gathering together memories, dreams and inspirations. As time goes on, I’ll start to archive these on my Pinterest pages.

Moodboards from years ago

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of redesigning the website, mainly because of the pleasure it has been to work with my friend and colleague Iain Gutteridge of IG Design who has been absolutely brilliant in translating all my ideas into code. I have no doubt that Iain will never have worked with such a hands-on client as me (also read “control freak”!) I have literally gone through the whole design, creating mock-ups of every page with colour references for what probably feels to Iain like every last pixel!

From our humble beginnings discussing a rough version of the website in a Wimbledon cafe last summer, Iain has managed to fulfill my constant stream of requests and withstand the endless tweaks I’ve asked for. He’s come up with clever solutions to problems and has achieved a perfect result whether you are looking at my website on a mobile, a tablet or a computer monitor (but please do look at the website on a bigger screen – at least the first time you check it out – as that is the format I designed it for).  He’s done this all with extensive expertise, impeccable efficiency and, most of all, good grace. If you are after a good website designer, I can’t recommend him highly enough… Get in touch with him!


We are open!

After a very long set up this weekend, Designed | Crafted is finally open for business!

The set up was slightly traumatic, involving a late night furniture set up on Saturday night, a towed car and a midnight trip to the Hackney car pound and then a fourteen hour styling session yesterday to get the space looking right.

I managed to get a few snaps of the space before we left at midnight, but it was looking lovely.

Come along to the Private View tomorrow night (Tuesday 16th December) from 7-9pm.

Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, 24 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DU

See more details of our ten artists at

Designed | Crafted Christmas

We’re really delighted to announce a new Designed | Crafted show at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery in December.

Designed Crafted E-invite

After the success of our show during London Design Week in September, we thought we must do another show for Christmas. Being in the festive season, the emphasis of this show would naturally be a little different. Whereas we curated our last show to include a range of large gallery pieces with a sharp design edge, the new Designed | Crafted incarnation will be more of a pop up shop with a myriad of handmade gifts.

My fellow curator, Brett Manley, and I absolutely loved the process of finding new makers for the new show. We wanted more artists this time to offer a wider range of products and I think we’ve achieved a really good balance of materials with some absolutely gorgeous pieces which fulfill our manifesto of curating objects which lie at the boundary of craft and design.

We have also brought together a pretty dynamic group of artists. We’ve discovered some exciting new makers whose graduation work has attracted a buzz and mixed them in with some well established artists with a loyal following. For the full list of artists, check out our new Designed | Crafted website.

The pop up show will launch on the 15th of December and it will stay open right until Christmas Eve for any last minute East London shoppers. We will have two late Christmas shopping evenings until 9pm, and we would cordially invite you to join us at the Private View between 7 and 9pm on 16th December.

Do get in contact if you would like to come along, we’d love to see you there.

Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery, 24 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3DU
15-24 December, Mon-Sun 11am-7pm

Love West Dulwich

I tend to avoid fairs and markets. Not as a punter, of course, I love going to them, I just don’t do them. Maybe because I’m too pampered in my nice warm studio, or too snobby about selling anywhere except a sleek gallery or gorgeous giftshop. But I was in a local shop last week where I saw a flyer for a West Dulwich Christmas Fair and on a whim I contacted the organiser. I got lucky; a stallholder had just dropped out, so the stall was mine.


I dragged along my son Isaac to help out, on the promise of bringing comfy chairs and buying him a lamb curry for lunch from Indigo, our favourite local Indian restaurant. And we ended up having a fantastic day!

Being the latest latecomer we were given the end stall but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. I’m a seasoned exhibitor at trade shows in places like Earls Court and Olympia where the journey between the car and the stand is usually logistically challenging and inevitably interminable. So somehow it felt wrong to have parked right next to our West Dulwich stall and unpacked the car within five minutes flat!

But the best part was that we sold glass like hotcakes, so when I sold out of a couple of lines and our money box was bursting with cash, I could even nip back to the studio to restock. It was a cold day but the winter sun held all day and we had wrapped up warm. And it was a pleasure to sell to local people, some of whom I recognised as Open House customers.

Fair in evening

As the light began to fade in the late afternoon, we talked about coming back for the next fair in May. It felt like a really satisfying day so we’ll definitely be back!