Decorative and functional items made by independent designer-makers often cost less than their mass-produced equivalents. And in the run-up to Christmas you can find them for sale at relatively low prices at seasonal open studios and craft fairs.
London is home to countless craftspeople making everything from homeware to fashion accessories, so here we highlight some of the top crafts venues for gifts and explain what each is best known for.
Olivier Foyer, National Theatre, Southbank, SE1. Now until January 6 (dazzle-exhibitions.com).
Contemporary jewellery, metal work and decorative prints. Quirky, almost anthropomorphic, brightly coloured salt and pepper shakers by Rachael Brame and silver and bleached wood mini tools by Sharon Adams.
Chelsea Old Town Hall, SW3. November 10, 10am to 4pm. £5; young children free.
Staged by specialist textile magazine Selvedge, with 100-plus exhibitors offering everything from table linen to fashion by way of haberdashery. Decorative pieces by renowned papier mâché expert Julie Arkell.
Contemporary Applied Art, 2 Percy Street, W1. November 15 to January 12 (020 7436 2344; caa.org.uk).
Celebrating the idea of giving and the talents of makers, find 50 makers and items from £50. Striking glass by Amanda Simmons; beautiful ceramic beakers and jugs by Derek Wilson; textiles by Katie Mawson.
401 Wandsworth Road, SW8. November 17 and 18, noon to 6pm (401studios.org).
Functional, covetable ceramics by Kaori Tatebayashi; colourful, glossy, vases by Chito Kuroda and contemporary silver tableware by Heather O’Connor. And seriously beautiful glass by former RCA graduates Liam Reeves, Sarah Wiberley and Louis Thompson.
268 Croxted Road, SE24. November 17 and 18, 10.30am to 6pm (07941 200 300; cavalierofinn.com).
A craft fair in a home-cum-gallery with ceramics, furniture, textile, lighting, painting and sculpture from 20 designer-makers. Witty swimmer-decorated teaware by Alice Mara; chandeliers by Madeleine Boulesteix.
Made in Clerkenwell
Craft Central, 21 Clerkenwell Green and 33-35 St John’s Square, EC1. November 23, noon to 8pm. November 24 and 25, noon to 5pm. £3, under-16s free (020 7251 0276; craftcentral.org.uk).
Mainly jewellery and silversmithing but also good for homeware, from chopping boards, bookends and nesting boxes by Lotte Cole to colourful home accessories by graphic designers Goodwin & Goodwin.
36-38 Peckham Road, SE5. November 30 to December 2, 11am to 5pm (020 7701 2940).
The place for ceramics. Teaware by Chris Keenan; candelsticks by Howard Fenn; sculptural vases and bowls by Carina Ciscato; bowls by Kim Sun, tea caddies by Siu Kwan Wong.
The Chocolate Factory
Farleigh Place, Stoke Newington, N16. December 1 and 2, 11am to 6pm.
Mix of ceramics, printmaking and millinery. Black or white functional tableware by Jo Davies
Pullens Yards, Clements Yard, Iliffe Yard and Peacock Yard in Iliffe and Crampton Streets, SE17. December 1 and 2, 11am to 6pm.
Intriguing mix from ceramics to photography, in a lovely, cobbled Victorian mews. Animal cruets and metalware by Carol Mather and ceramics by Barbara Wakefield.
The Workshop Sale
Push Studios, 17-21 Blackwater Street, East Dulwich, SE22. December 1, 10am to 5pm (theworkshopsale.co.uk).
Very good for textiles: ecological rugs with matching jewellery by Annie Sherburne; cushions by Trisha Needham; woven cashmere home accessories by Muskett & Muzzullo.
At Cockpit Arts Holborn, Northington Street, WC1; November 20 to December 2, from 11am to 9pm Friday and until 6pm Saturday and Sunday, and at Cockpit Arts Deptford, 18-22 Creekside, SE8, open similar times. £5 joint ticket, £3 Deptford only (free entry to Deptford on Friday; cockpitarts.com).
New this year are silver tableware by Victoria Coleman; silver jugs by Shaun Grace; delicate paper birdcages for plants by Amy Furnival.
24 Lloyd Baker Street, WC1. December 4 to 8, 10.30am to 5.30pm; 11am to 6pm Saturday (wallacesewell.com).
Modernist patterned and subtly coloured woven cushions and throws.