Presents made by the gifted

Craft-makers’ shows and open studios are a treasure trove for unusual Christmas gifts. Corinne Julius finds the best locations across London
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Want to buy something handmade and special for Christmas? Then shop for gifts at the shows.

London has some of the best designers and makers and buying direct from them means you get very good prices, plus the added pleasure of not having to go to the high street.

The Christmas makers’ shows and open studios give shoppers the chance to meet the makers and learn more about what they create.

Artists often sell not just their newest pieces, but also prototypes, ends of ranges and seconds, which make for some very good bargains.

Also, you get to visit some interesting places, enjoy some mince pies and mulled wine, and feel satisfied that you are spending your money supporting our craftspeople.


Olivier Foyer, National Theatre, South Bank, SE1. Until 10 January 2009, 10am to 10pm; Sundays, noon to 6pm
This year the annual jewellery show includes silver by Miranda Meillieur, Esther Lord and Emily Jo Gibbs, and mirrors by Sarah Hamilton and Maria Santos-Alcantara, plus stitched wall hangings and wallpaper appliqué by Claire Coles.

Glass vases by Mark Bickers (£145)
Glass vases by Mark Bickers (£145) at London Glassblowing, 28 November to 7 December

Wimbledon Art Studios

Riverside Yard, Riverside Road, Earlsfield, SW17. 27 and 28 November 2008, 2pm to 10pm; 29 and 30 November 2008, 11am to 6pm
Work by many of the 190 artists at the studios: ceramics, painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, printmaking and furniture.

Chris Owen’s simple and stylish oil and vinegar jars are a perfect example of the quality of design on show. Visit

London Glassblowing

7 The Leathermarket, Weston Street, SE1. 28 November to 7 December 2008, 11am to 5pm
A wide range of beautiful and unusual glass by established maker Peter Layton and his team. Continuous glassblowing demonstrations, free mulled wine and mince pies.

Free parking in the courtyard at weekends. A percentage of all profits will be donated to Crisis. Visit

Made in Clerkenwell

Craft Central, 33-35 St John’s Square, EC1. 27 November 2008, 5pm to 8pm; 28 to 30 November 2008, noon to 6pm
Clerkenwell is traditionally the home of the jewellery trade but a number of the designers on show make household objects. Look out for spiky china teapots by Ikuko Iwamoto, bird-decorated ceramics by Helen Beard, horticulturally patterned steel shelves and memo boards by Susan Bradley, dramatic felt rugs and table covers by Michelle Mason, as well as sculptural wooden jewellery by Anthony Rousell and precious jewellery by Mark Nuell. Visit

Felt tabletop (£82) by Michelle Mason
Felt tabletop (£82) by Michelle Mason at Made in Clerkenwell. Craft Central, EC1, 27 to 30 November

Cockpit Arts

Cockpit Arts Holborn, Northington Street, WC1. 28 November 2008, 11am to 9pm; 29 and 30 November 2008, 11am to 6pm
Lots of talented makers producing everything from wallpaper to vases, ceiling roses to rings. Take a look at Francisca Prieto’s delicate metal blossom pendant lights, Lauren Moriarty’s glow-in-the-dark ceiling roses, Yoyo china wipe-clean kitchen notebooks, Chien-Wei Chang’s silver vases, as well as lots of jewellery, including jet by Jacqueline Cullen, bio-resin by Sarah King and fashion accessories such as award-winning hats by Yasmin Rizvi.

Special offer: tickets are two-for-one if you print this page and take it along. Plus a prize draw of a spectacular Christmas tree decorated with unusual hand-crafted ornaments by Cockpit Arts’ designer-makers.

Cockpit Arts Deptford, 18-22 Creekside, SE8. 5 to 7 December 2008, Friday, 11am to 9pm, weekend, 11am to 6pm
A mix of established and lesser-known makers. Silver vases and cups by Ndidi Ekubia, silver boxes by Maya Selway, bespoke wallpaper by Linda Florence, ceramic pots and spoons by Louisa Taylor, woven woollen blankets by Eleanor Pritchard, structural textiles to apply to furniture by Katherine Wardropper and glowing resin and foil jewellery by Wendy Sarah Pacey. Visit

Wallace Sewell

24 Lloyd Baker Street, WC1. Open on 1 December 2008, 6pm to 8pm, as part of Amwell Street Christmas Shopping Evening. Then 2 to 5 December, 10.30am to 5.30pm; 6 December, 11am to 6pm
This design duo creates new fabrics for the Overground. Their domestic ranges of throws, cushions, tea cosies, bottle coolers and pin cushions have a modernist ethos and very subtle colourings. Visit

Twisted loop (£810) ceramic by Merete Rasmussen
Twisted loop (£810) ceramic by Merete Rasmussen at Vanguard Court Open Studios, SE5

East London Design Show

Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, E1. 5 December 2008, noon to 8pm; 6 and 7 December 2008, 10am to 6pm
Lots of very reasonably priced, unusual household gifts to buy direct from the designers. This year London scenes feature on colourful ceramics by Alice Mara, Peoplewillalwaysneedplates and Snowden Flood, and there are black-and-white silhouettes of the city on cushions by Charlotte Mullen.

Look out, too, for clever coatpeg/shelves by Domesticity, as well as amusing bird-on-twig coat hooks by Mexican designers Neko designs.
Special offer: tickets are two-for-one if you print this page and take it along. Visit

Vanguard Court Open Studios

36-38 Peckham Road, SE5. 5 to 6 December 2008, 11am to 5pm
These two studios specialise in ceramics, including Chris Keenan’s orientally inspired functional ware, Carina Ciscato’s elegant white sculptural vases and Sun Kim’s lidded jars. Look out for sculptures by Merete Rasmussen, a star of Design/Art.

London Glassworks

Unit 15, Forest Trading Estate, Priestley Way, E17. 6 December 2008, 10am to 7pm; 7 December 2008, 11am to 6pm
Glowing functional and sculptural glass by Stewart Hearn, Mark Bickers and Victoria Rothschild. Bargains include prototypes, ends of ranges and slight seconds from £15, as well as gallery pieces costing up to £2,000. There are glassblowing demonstrations and a limited number of places to make your own tumbler. Visit

Oil and vinegar jars (£20) by Chris Owen
Oil and vinegar jars (£20) by Chris Owen at Wimbledon Art Studios, Riverside Road, SW17. 27 to 30 November 2008

Pullens Yards

Clements Yard, Iliffe Yard and Peacock Yard, Iliffe and Crampton Streets, SE17. 6 December 2008, 11am to 6pm; 7 December 2008, 11am to 4pm
Functional ceramics, including Hitomi McKenzie, stone carving by Arts Express, metal pets by Carol Mather and jewellery by Hidemi Asanso. Visit

The Workshop Christmas Sale

Thomas More Hall, 116a Lordship Lane, SE22. 6 December 2008, 10am to 5pm
Eclectic mix of 30 makers from wood to wool. Luxurious woollen throws, cushions and scarves by Muskett & Mazzullo, glass by Michael Ruh and machine embroideries by Linda Miller. Visit

Annabel Faraday

Ceramics workshop, 48 Museum House, Burnham Street, E2. 6 and 13 December 2008, 11am to 6pm; 7 and 14 December 2008, 11am to 5pm
Functional ceramics reflecting London’s heritage, printed inside and out, some with imagery of fading Victoriana, others with delicately drawn plants. Visit

Table (£450) by Tom Cecil
Table (£450) by Tom Cecil at UK Design Fair, Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, E1. 28 to 30 November 2008

UK Design Fair

Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, E1. 28 November 2008, 5pm to 9pm; 29 November 2008, 10am to 6pm; 30 November 2008, 11am to 5pm
This year there is only one weekend of open workshops at Hidden Art but it is also hosting UK Design Fair.

The fair has products by many Hidden Art makers from across the country, such as intriguing silhouette cut-out paper lamps by Yu-Jordy-Fu and unusual furniture composed from cut cardboard or strips of MDF by Tom Cecil.

There are lots of ceramics, including quirky kiss-patterned mugs and candlesticks by Reiko Kaneko, tableware with palm-fringe decorations by Joanna London and Thirties-style vases by Tina Vassopulos.

Hidden Art Open Studios

Old Truman Brewery, Hanbury Street, E1. 6 December 2008, 10am to 6pm; 7 December 2009, 11am to 5pm
Some studios times may vary but all are shown on the Hidden Art Open Studios map at Look out for a varied and graphic range of tabletop accessories, including trays, coasters, porcelain tableware and mouse mats by Ella Doran (one of John Lewis’s bestselling designers), engaging eco-furniture and products by Spinfex, subtle grey hand-thrown pots by Karen Bunting and magical narrative textile wall hangings by Natasha Kerr.

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