Crazy for crafts: the new wave of London makers sparking buzz on the interiors scene

This, they say, is the modern way. This, they say, is modern craft. FELT can showcase crafts at home / HandoutFELT founders Tintin Mcdonald and Francesca Wilson have backgrounds in fashion and art respectively. They live three doors apart in Peckham and can be found at the Copeland Gallery or Peckham Festival, where they both meet many of their artisans. They say that craft is often associated with the village hall, WI style. So they are excited about the new energy surrounding it. These craftsmen are using traditional skills to create something modern that reflects our culture. Many are using recycled materials and natural colors, or taking old objects and reinventing them. This adds character. Tintin and Francesca seek out pieces that reflect the personality of the artist when sourcing their collections. They love quirky and humorous pieces with interesting textural qualities. “We love seeing seams and rough edges – it’s a celebration of the material. “Ceramic plates by Eliza Hopewell who will be exhibiting at FELT’s Sensational Beings exhibition in Peckham, May 4-7 / HandoutThe pair believe craft brings “spirituality, originality, and a feeling warmth” to the home. They say that you don’t need to be an expert to fall in love and share a piece with others. These artworks are great conversation points. People are more interested in the origins and manufacturing processes of their purchases. TOASTElsewhere continues to run its New Makers program, which was launched in 2019. Five artists are selected from more than a thousand applicants each year to run the TOAST New Makers program. It launched in 2019. TOAST doesn’t charge a commission for their sales and all profits are returned to them. “Meeting these makers, because they’re so passionate, is an absolute delight,” says Suzie De Rohan Willner (CEO of TOAST). We gain as much from their thinking on how to navigate art and craft as they hope we give them. It’s an exciting part of what I do, and a joy to help the next generation. TOAST seeks makers who share its sustainable values, and are “moving craft forward” by breaking new ground in their fields to narrow down its final five. De Rohan Willner says, “These things are long-lasting and can be used for many years.” “People are not content to buy something and then put it aside, but they are seeking to preserve beautiful pieces that are meaningful to them that they can share with their family and friends. “Meet the makersSylvie FranquetSylvie Franquet reimagines legacy tapestries with fascinating modern needlework / HandoutParte of FELT’s Sensational Beings Collection, Sylvie Franquet searches out masterpieces and overlays them using brightly coloured embroidery and calligraphy style text sourced from philosophy or poetry. She says, “I love how I can change the imagery while keeping it recognisable.” My work is a mix of traditional samplers, graffiti and collage. It shouts at you with thoughts about reconnecting to the natural world. After inheriting three cabinets full of unfinished needleworks by her mother-in law, she started her own unique practice around 11 years ago. She was inspired by the “unfettered freedom to travel”, especially around the Middle East. She is currently based at Brixton. “I can always locate colour here, even when it’s grey,” she says. She sews a lot on buses, trains, and planes. She says that the world she lives in is fast, plastic, and disposable. Making things is a wonderful, conscious, sustainable way to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It’s a sign that people are seeking a slower, more enjoyable, and more humane way of living. Craft is a rebellion against the speed and confusion in our society. “Eliza HopewellEliza Hopewell is busy painting plates in her South London studio / HandoutPainter, ceramicist Eliza Hopewell, and also FELT exhibitor, started her practice painting portraits onto dinner plates. She began her work in her studio in south London and has since expanded to include everything from jugs and coffee table to wallpaper and murals. She says, “I am interested in creating playful objects which will look good in any home.” Although my pieces can be subversive if you look closely, they are always well-crafted and feature carefully chosen imagery. “Hopewell draws inspirations from interior designers such as Beata Heuman, and artists’ homes like Charleston House, which is part of the Bloomsbury Set. I am inspired by designers and makers who use homes as a canvas to create objects or decorations that are functional, unique, handmade, colourful, and well-thought. She has noticed a shift in her attitude towards craft, especially considering the availability of affordable artworks that are more accessible to people with a lower income. She says that many property developers create bland, white-box interiors that look the same. However, she believes people’s homes should reflect their individuality. It is an unbeatable pleasure to own a unique object that has been loved. “Dalia JamesDalia James, a woven textile designer, is based in Walthamstow. / HandoutDalia James, textile artist, weaves wall hangings and placemats from her studio in Walthamstow. She dip-dyes biodegradable yarns and is inspired by the Bauhaus geometric forms. She says, “I am a huge colour fanatic but I also love angles.” “Trigonometry was my favorite thing about maths. James noticed a desire to create things with our hands, “perhaps in response” to how computerized the world is. “Every piece that I make is unique. She says that they are impossible to duplicate, at both the dyeing and weaving stages. “There is interest in the surface patterns but also in the woven structure, which gives wall hangings more textural depth that, say, a painting. Samuel AlexanderSamuel Alexander makes spoons from local wood / HandoutWoodworker Samuel Alexander also joins TOAST’s New Makers group this year. He is self-taught and makes spoons and vessels from reclaimed wood from local tree management. He lives on a boat at Regent’s Canal, but can also be found enjoying his work at London Greenwood. “The more I make, I feel happier. Wood carving is a tedious process that requires a lot of sharp tools. However, my style is precise and precise. Each piece is unique. Alexander believes that many people discovered a lot about their creativity during the Covid lockdowns. He is now enjoying their “incredible output.” “When someone purchases a piece of craft to decorate their home, they are not only buying a beautiful object but also the time that has passed and was generously given by the maker. “FELT’s Sensational beings exhibition runs from 4-7 May at Safehouse in Peckham. TOAST will be collaborating with Jacob Monk, a textile artist, to present an ikat exhibit and run drop-in workshops in paper weaving as part of London Craft Week at its menswear shop at Newburgh Street, Carnaby from 9-15 May.