Tuesday, 28 September 2010


If you haven't heard, Origin is the UK Crafts Council's annual London craft fair. Mainly UK makers but also some from other countries. We live 200 miles away and loathe going to London but we've been making the trip for, ooh, 20 years? Something like that. Another different venue this year, Old Spitalfields Market, and best of all - we only had to go once to see everything! It's always been split over two weeks before, which is a total pain when it takes so much longer to get there than to go round the show.

There's never all that much embroidery, but I enjoy all the other crafts - especially non-precious jewellery, felt, glass, ceramics and paper. I'd seen a lot of the makers before, but it's still great to see their latest work. Old favourites? Linda Miller's pictures always so bright and happy, Rachel Gornall's patterns of cut out circles and hand stitch on hand dyed, layered organzas, Jane Adam's dyed and etched aluminium jewellery, Sarah Morpeth's intricate cut paper booklets, Jeung-Hwa Park's felted scarves with amazing "bubbles" of woven fabric, Debbie Smyth's thread/pin paintings of pylons and shopping trollies, James Lethbridge sculptural glass like plankton, Sarah Morpeth's paper cuts .... the list goes on and on, it's just heaven.


New favourites this year included Clare Brewster's detailed birds cut from maps, especially pieces using whole maps; Joanne Tinker's frames full of hundreds of tiny goblets or domes made from chocolate foils (bet she's popular when she's making new work!), Wycliffe Stutchbury's wall pieces made of tiny shingles of reclaimed wood (very textiley). And too many more to mention - got my own deadlines to worry about!


I was very good, didn't buy much at all - just a couple of Sarah Morpeth's booklets, a mini bowl by Timea Sideo, and a gorgeous purple bubbly felt scarf by Jeung-Hwa park that I'm not going to see again til christmas! No (affordable) jewellery quite hit the spot - Michael Berg's stunning kinetic rings will have to wait til the lottery numbers come up! But it's a real treat for the senses, and so inspiring to see and talk to all these talented, original makers. Definitely a highlight of my year.

Find links to all the exhibitors on the Origin site.

Looking, not doing

Taken time out from my own productions this last week to enjoy other people's. First there was David Nash at Yorkshire Sculpture Park - monumental sculptures in wood.

The scale of this work is breathtaking, and I love the way he works with rather than against the wood, exploiting its natural character and allowing it to crack and change colour as it ages. A vast book form in charred beech and rusted steel was one of my favourites, also the many huge totem-like columns decorated with clever patterns of cuts, and domes comprising lots of little stumps like crowds of people. A wooden "boulder" had been pushed into a stream and filmed from time to time as it travelled to the sea over 25 years - looking so rocky when still, it was strange to then see it floating off!

Then a trip round the Yorkshire Dales included a peek at real Wensleydale cheese being made. Back breaking work . Of course samples had to be brought home, it'd be rude not to wouldn't it? Delicious.

All sorts of variations these days...not sure where mango and papaya grow in these parts though.
But Saturday was the highlight - the annual trip to London for Origin. This is going to get a bit long - I'll do a separate post.