Best in Show

This year’s London Design Festival was upon us before I realised how out of the loop I was… normally I would be part of things, exhibiting in our usual Rivington Street gallery in Shoreditch, but being on maternity leave meant I was free to go and visit places. So one afternoon last week I went with a couple of other design-oriented mums to see designjunction which was in Granary Square in Kings Cross this year.

We stood in the street, buggies and all, looking for Cubitt House, the exhibition space, and somehow couldn’t see what was right in front of our faces…  the temporary exhibition structure had been clad in an intriguing scaffolding (above left) which created a kind of urban camouflage integrating the trees lining the road. I later found out this was a special facade which had been commissioned by designjunction from Satellite Architects but it had the effect of making the building strangely invisible to our baby-addled brains!

Design companies often go to great lengths to create temporary installations just for London Design Week and this year my favourite was the stunning lighting installation in the Central Saint Martins building by French lighting company Blackbody (above right). I’m a sucker for a sparkling canopy of light and this was spectacular.

But ‘Best in Show’ undoubtedly went to our lovely friend and superb furniture designer Bethan Gray, whose stand we dropped in on. I’ve always loved her style, but her new collection is a showstopping culmination of everything else that she has so far designed under her eponymous design label. Her signature style, which brings together a love of materials with fabulous detailing, was expressed in a delicious palette of rich teal, salmon pink and midnight blue.

Nizwa cabinet
Her latest collection is a collaboration with Iranian artist Mohammed Reza Shamsian who has spent many years crafting unique pieces for the Sultan of Oman. Bethan’s husband, Massimo, told me how the biggest hurdle in the production process was not the fabrication – in fact the collection was created from sampling to launch in an unbelievably quick five months – but the packaging. I guess if you supply the Sultan of Oman, your furniture goes straight from workshop to palace and packaging is not really a consideration! Massimo explained that the packaging problem was solved by putting each piece in its own soft fabric bag – and I just love the idea of a piece of furniture coming in it’s own velvet pouch like a precious jewel.

My favourite piece was the Nizwa cabinet, made of maple wood marquetry in a teal ombré with an overlay of solid brass. It is absolutely stunning and I want one!  I can’t wait to see what Bethan comes up with next.

Upcoming Shows

I have two shows coming up in October.

From the 22nd to the 25th October I will be at Stand 23 at MADE London. This Design and Craft fair is fast becoming one of the top selling events for designer makers in Europe, showcasing the very best and most original makers in this country. Visitors to MADE LONDON are always impressed by the variety, quality and originality of the craft and design on show; and love exploring each of the four levels of the dramatic and beautiful building at One Marylebone.

On the 27th and 28th of October I will be at showing at the Glaziers Fair alongside three others Teepee Glass members who will also be there. This is the first time The Worshipful Company of Glaziers has held a fair and it will be in the magnificent setting of the Glaziers Hall on the River Thames at London Bridge. Forty six exhibitors (mainly glass but also other media) will be selling at this fair.

These are both perfect opportunities to get some early handmade Christmas presents which are more unique and thoughtful than the standard high street fayre.


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

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


Sad face

An update on my shortlisted proposal for the art commission at Abingdon School… well, my proposal was submitted, my designs developed and numerous conversations with various studios helped me to flesh out my ideas. I spent four hours last Friday driving to my interview, including a very tense hour spent in standstill traffic outside Oxford wondering how late it was going to make me! And after my interview, I felt fairly confident that I’d got my ideas across to the panel of six representatives from the school.

However I had my hesitations and I didn’t want to go full steam ahead without raising the prospect of the challenge that I faced in getting the budget to work. In the end, I think this may have raised doubts as the commission was being managed on a tight schedule, and I was told this week that I didn’t make it through to the next stage.

Design for Abingdon School

It’s a real shame, as I think the glass would have looked spectacular. Ironically it wasn’t the glass that was causing such an issue with the budget, but the supporting structure. A pair of stainless steel beams to hold the glass panel would have taken 40% of the budget, and this was the simplest solution. I was looking into alternative methods of supporting the 600 kg of glass in the 10 metre high glass wall that I was proposing, despite the fact that the roof was not to be load bearing, and I may well have come up with an innovative solution that could have cost less but, alas, time was running out. However the design of the glass itself presented no such challenges and I had an immediate image in my head as soon as I read the brief. The artwork was to be installed in the new Science Centre, within the main staircase, and it was intended to represent the three sciences that were located on each floor. My concept was based around the way that I feel boys learn (Abingdon is a boys’ school) and, with a sixteen year old son who’s just finished his GCSEs, this is a pretty pertinent subject matter for me.

Boys’ learning seems to me to me much less consistent than that of girls. Boys seem to spend a lot of time absorbing much teaching without apparently learning much! Then somehow a teacher or parent says something in the right way and that acts as a key that opens a door of learning and suddenly they make great strides forward. So my artwork is a trail of iconography representing the curriculum across the seven years for each of the three sciences. But every so often one of these images is picked out in golden hues to symbolise the metaphorical door to learning being opened. The history of Abingdon School has a strong association with the number 63, and my artwork represented this numerically with an image symbolising each of the three terms of the year, for each of the seven years a boy will be at the school and for each of the three sciences which adds up to 63 images in the artwork.

Glass Proposal for Abingdon School

It’s really a pity that they didn’t go for it, but I’ll be following future developments on the commission with interest.


Wrapping the show

After a successful fortnight showing our Designed | Crafted exhibition at Rivington Street, we finally wrapped the show last night and today had the unenviable task of also wrapping the work and packing away the plinths to clear the space. Usually the final clear up is a little sad, taking down all the lovely work and seeing the empty space.

However there was one thing which brightened our day considerably this time. We were sent the link to a video piece on the FT website which featured some footage of our show. In all the craziness of London Design Week I had almost forgotten that I met the producer of the piece last Tuesday and showed him around our exhibition while a cameraman filmed inside and outside the gallery!

The hour that they spent in our space, and asking about our work, was reduced down to about seven seconds…. in fact just about as long as one of good old Terence Conran’s pauses, but it made us very happy!

Check us out between 1:46 and 1:53


Designed | Crafted

Our exhibition opened last week at the Society of Designer Craftsmen Gallery in Rivington Street, Shoreditch. Designed | Crafted is a showcase bringing together the best of British craft, with beautifully handmade objects which bridge the gap between craft and design.

We tried to represent the breadth of the show in the window with one piece from (almost) every artist. The gallery space was looking gorgeous with a row of Simon Yates‘ sculptural stands made from polished yew leading to the back space where Brett Manley‘s ‘Glass Forest’ comprised of a cluster of glass discs presented on plexiglass stands. Juliette Bigley‘s bowls in polished silver had a seductive warmth from the gilded interior which put me in mind of horse chestnuts and their shells.

From the arboreal to the underwater, my Coral Bowls have an organic undulation about them which invokes notions of deep sea coral as they project a frilly pattern of colour underneath. Myung Nam An‘s wall of sculptural ceramics continues the underwater theme with colourful anemone-like forms.

Set against these weird and wonderful shapes, Katie Snow‘s androgynous geometric jewellery is no less intriguing. in fact her collection is called ‘Pockets of Intrigue’ as the wearable angular containers open to reveal their secrets. Then we had beautifully contrasting work with the virtuoso blown glass vessels by Adam Aaronson, large and expressive, contrasting with a group of neat blown glass vases from The Edition Collection, exquisitely engraved with intricate patterns.


Private-ViewWe are open late on Tuesday 16th September for a private view to which you are cordially invited. Please come along between 7pm and 10pm to see this exciting collection of contemporary craft work with a design edge.

See further images at my Pinterest page


London Design Festival

September is an exciting time as it is the London Design Festival which centres on East London. I have got together with couple of my fellow Teepee Glass artists to organise a special exhibition of high quality craft with a design edge.

We are thrilled to be presenting the work of eight makers including glass, silver, ceramics and furniture in the show Designed | Crafted which will be opened in a beautiful gallery space in Rivington Street in the heart of the Old Street design district during London Design Festival.


If you would like to attend one of the Private Views on Thursday 11th or Tuesday 16th September between 7pm and 10pm, please get in touch

And if you are on Twitter, please do follow us on @DesignedCrafted and spread the word!