This is the Crafts Council craft event, two weeks of delicious things exhibited in a pavilion in the courtyard of Somerset House so surrounded by fine building of a serious nature. Inside are stalls, shops, booths – describe them as you wish, but each has an individual craftsperson displaying their finest products and willing to talk and show and, of course, sell to you or negotiate a commission. It is a treat and an eye-opener and this year is a good one. The layout is a little different and gives a greater sense of space, and I think they may be, deliberately, a smaller number of exhibitors.

OriginBeing there is an undertaking, a full week (the two weeks have different craftspeople) and talking a lot but always to interested and informed people. This year the emphasis with interventions and installations, though not the craftspeople, is basketry to connect with the V&A Residency being for a contemporary Basketmaker. I have been involved with this aspect of the Fair and have helped select eight artists to provide structures for the six internal spaces between stands and two outside larger scale works. They all look really great and are attracting a lot of interest. Inside there are pieces by Dail Behennah, Elizabeth Murton, Shuna Rendel, Laura Street, Kazuhito Takadoi, Lois Walpole. Outside you can gaze up at interlaced white willow structures by Laura Ellen Bacon, or linger under a bamboo roof, open to the sky, a drawing on a blue background when I last saw it, by Lee Dalby. More detail of all these in my next posting but in the meantime go along and try your hand at a bit of basketry too.

Shane Waltener is leading a ‘basket hack’, an interactive have-a-go activity in a large space at one end. The students from the City Lit Basketry courses ( good place to learn – more later) are helping out and transforming everyday objects, colanders, sieves, other baskets, with coiling, plaiting and various techniques of a classic nature used entirely otherwise.

OriginA few of us went for a day at the City Lit to see what it was all about and enjoyed it, and the results will be most interesting and probably, bizarre! I shall see later in the week. You can just have a go fo a short time and talk to those also working away. Enjoyable in the middle of lots of looking.
Shane is also involved in a Birmingham project concurrently, installing that last Friday so have a look at that too.

Event: Make Do and Mend – Family Textile Workshop at BMAG
Birmingham Museum,  30th October 2009
Join artist Shane Waltener for this fun textile workshop; Unravel a treasure chest of colourful knitted and stitched garments and use the recycled yarn to create a stitched and knotted masterpiece which can be added to Shane’s work in the exhibition ‘Taking Time: Craft and the Slow Revolution’.

11am till 4pm in the Waterhall Seminar Room.
Free, drop-in and suitable for all ages