London events: five things to do in May

The capital's diary is action packed during May, with selling exhibitions showcasing Indian-inspired design, British designer-makers inspired by London's landmarks and the city's street markets get a sophisticated new image

1. Living Crafts

May 10-13, Hatfield House, Great North Road, Hatfield
Here’s your chance to meet 300 British designer-makers, buy their work, listen to their stories, and watch their demos. We love this wiry sculpture by Carrie Anne Funnell (pictured).

“Have a go” workshops include pyrography (wood-burning) and papermaking. A “sculpture school” is more ambitious, as are drawing masterclasses with Harry Potter illustrator Cliff Wright. Enjoy tutored wine tasting and lots of family fun.

Tickets: adults £9; children £4; family £25 (book in advance for reductions: 0845 230 5176;; or call 02392 863871 for more details. Print this page and get two tickets for the price of one.

2. Spirit of Summer Fair

May 16-19, Grand Hall, Olympia, Olympia Way, W14
At an action-packed show, Wendy Black of Florist at The Dorchester will help you to make a “jubilee bouquet” to take home using sweet-scented bulb flowers such as narcissi, iris, hyacinth and calla lily (sponsored by The Flower Council of Holland).

Also included is stephanotis, used in the Queen’s coronation bouquet. There are plenty of other upmarket workshops, plus, of course, the celebrated shopping, with 300 exclusive and original traders taking part. Ticket prices: adults £16; 13 to 16 year-olds £8; under-13s free; call 0844 412 4263 or visit

Layered vessels
These layered vessels by Pia Wustenberg are made of wood, glass and metal for Inspired by India at Sothebys

3. Inspired by India

A selling exhibition of contemporary design from now until May 15, Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street, W1
Putting India at the cutting edge is Janice Blackburn, one of London’s most respected design curators, who has gathered textiles, ceramics, furniture and photography inspired by the “culture, colours and crafts of India” - including a special display of wedding saris created for Bollywood stars.

The show spotlights established designers, such as Alice Cicolini, Rahul Kumar and Sabyasachi Mukherjee and up-and-coming young London artists such as Pia Wustenberg, who produces these lovely layered vessels (pictured). Visit

Penny Seume's city-inspired cushions will be for sale at London: A Celebration

4. London: A Celebration

May 10-13, Gallery@Oxo, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, SE1
Mere souvenirs will never be quite the same. Meet an exclusive band of UK designer-makers at London: A Celebration, where the charismatic curator is Piyush Suri, author of handbook Handmade in Britain.

In a light and airy clearing directly off the busy South Bank walkway, you will find London-centric exhibitors showing their work, including Penny Seume with her city-inspired printed velvet and linen cushions (pictured), Adam Aaronson with his beautiful glass, and London Kills Me, printing the capital’s landmarks on to fabrics, and on placemats made with beautiful green slate (020 7729 5704;

5. Soho Flea Market

Sunday May 27 in Dean Street, W1
Street markets will get a sophisticated new image when Dean Street closes to traffic from noon to 8pm for a celebration of London’s creative arts. Browse a long line of “curated” stalls surrounded by musicians, film-makers, comedy acts and conceptual artists.

Strutting their stuff are Melanie Porter, with her knitted furniture; Michele Oberdieck, with hand-painted cushions and scarves; and Lou Rota, with strikingly graphic “upcycled” bone china. And the fun is far-reaching thanks to the many Soho bars and restaurants putting on their own supporting shows with art, design and music. Visit

Open until Sunday, May 13 is Grand Designs Live at ExCeL, E16. And don’t miss Clerkenwell Design Week, May 22-24 ( or Collect (for contemporary craft), May 11-14

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