London Craft Week (Wed May 6–Sun May 10), a brand new week-long festival of activities and exhibitions, celebrates all sorts of craftsmanship across the capital. Famous galleries and specialist workshops alike will host events to showcase both ancient skills and exciting new talent, and you'll even have a chance to try your hand at some crafting yourself. Check out our pick of the week's events below.
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Our London Craft Week highlights
Watchmaking at Vacheron Constantin
Vacheron Constantin's flagship London boutique will play host to presentations from two of the Swiss watchmaker’s master craftsmen. A watchmaker and an engraver will demonstrate their refined skills and visitors will be given the opportunity to try their hand at assembling a movement and even attempt the art of engraving.
Thu May 7 - Sat May 9, 10am-5pm. 37 Old Bond Street, W1S 4AB.
No booking required
For four days, the COLLECT fair brings some of the finest collectible craft from galleries across the world to London, displaying a line-up of museum-quality work from a roster of well-established artists alongside pieces from the craft world’s next generation of talent.
Fri May 8 - Mon May 11. Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, SW3 4RY
Made of Mayfair – The New Craftsmen
Since summer 2014, seven makers in variety of disciplines have been developing work in response to their Mayfair surroundings, drawing on and reinterpreting the architecture and craft heritage that have contributed to the area’s rich history. During London Craft Week, in the New Craftsmen’s Mayfair space and around the neighbourhood, the seven will share the stories, objects and processes they have worked on.
Thu May 7 - Sat May 9, 11am - 7pm. Various venues
Advance booking required
Crafted at Fortnum & Mason
For LCW, Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly store will host a curated selection of displays by Walpole Crafted alumni, including glass artist Michael Ruh and Saddler Mia Sabel. Demonstrations and talks about their craft will take place over the course of the week too.
Thu May 7 - Sun May 10, 10am-6pm. Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER
No booking required
Craft Central's two buildings on Clerkenwell Green and St John's Square, which house talented designers working across a wide range of disciplines, will open their doors for a four-day shopping event. Browse and buy unique accessories, ceramics, prints, illustration and jewellery straight from the artists who created them, or discuss bespoke designs and commissions for special occasions. One ticket allows unlimited access over all four days.
Thu May 7 - Sun May 10. 33-35 St John’s Square & 21 Clerkenwell Green, EC1M 4DS
The Craftsmanship of Food with Fox & Squirrel
On this specially created walk for London Craft Week, Fox & Squirrel will be looking at food as a form of artistic exploration. Walkers will visit small restaurants and cafes, talking to chefs and artisans who are skilled at creating food that is both beautiful to look at and to eat. There will be discussion on how food and preparation techniques require as much skill as any traditional craft and how the passing down recipes and traditions, through word of mouth or even in the form of apprenticeships, are essential to the continuity of food as craft.
Fri May 8, 10am-1pm. Exact meeting point TBC
The Crafted City
The centre of this flexible meeting and learning space is a specially created pavilion, which, like the objects celebrated at the event, will embody the balance of beauty and function, and demonstrate interdisciplinary collaboration while showcasing a variety of applied arts. Designed and made by leading craftspeople working across a range of disciplines, the pavilion is a gathering point for a week-long forum of discussion about the importance of craft in contemporary life. The pavilion will host a series of interactive sessions by day and night, including craft workshops, meals accompanied by lectures, discussions and debates about the crafts today.
Thu May 7 - Sun May 10, 10am-4.30pm. Contemporary Applied Arts, 89 Southwark Street, SE1 0HX
No booking required
Luxury Mayfair tailor Kathryn Sargent opens her doors to showcase the craftsmanship involved in bespoke tailoring. Throughout the day, a cutter and coat maker will give live demonstrations of pattern crafting and hand tailoring at Kathryn’s atelier, and an accompanying exhibition of completed garments will give visitors the chance to observe the process from start to finish. Bespoke embroiderers Hawthorne & Heaney will also demonstrate their hand-embroidered monogram service and Carole Hannaford from Harrisons – suppliers of cloth to the national and international tailoring trade – will discuss different types of fabric, ranging from the finest cashmere to country tweeds.
Thu May 7, 10am-5pm. 1st Floor, No.6 Brook Street, W1S 1BB
No booking required
Curated by the V&A and Crafts Council, this exhibition dissects the idea of luxury, addressing how it is made and understood in a physical, conceptual and cultural capacity. Are things deemed luxurious because they're made with incredible skill and innovation, or because of the valuable materials they're made from? 'What is Luxury?' will feature examples of both. The future of luxury will also be explored in relation to space, time, privacy and well-being, with the show questioning how access to resources and skill may determine the choices and aspirations of the consumer.
Sat Apr 25 - Sun Sep 27. Cromwell Rd, SW7 2RL
Award-winning social enterprise Cockpit Arts supports more than 170 of the country's best designer-makers, and its open studio weekends in Holborn (May 8-10) and Deptford (May 15-17) are a great opportunity to buy unique and beautifully made pieces direct from the artists. Visitors will be able to see behind-the-scenes and ask plenty of questions about the crafty goings-on. Prices range from £5 to £5,000.
Fri May 8 - Sun May 17. Cockpit Yard, Northington St, WC1N 2NP and 18-22 Creekside, SE8 3DZ
Chucs Westbourne Grove
At Chucs, food is served up in a beautifully lit, serene room that oozes 1950s Amalfi Coast cool (to say nothing of the garden courtyard, perfect for al fresco dining when summer comes around). Staff are fawning, and if that’s your bag you’ll love the place. If not, it’s just about tolerable – though a glimpse at the menu will explain exactly why they treat you like a multi-millionaire. Crudités with anchoïade were the crispest, freshest vegetables imaginable, perfectly presented on a bed of crushed ice. But the £15 price tag had us wincing. Aubergine parmigiana was expertly created, while the mains – mushroom risotto (£21!) and tagliatelle bolognese – were even deeper in flavour, achingly rich and lovingly prepared. But there really is no way to dine here on a budget: wine starts at £36 a bottle and rises steeply thereafter. Saying that, this isn’t simply a cynical, wallet-baiting experiment to see how much people are prepared to spend: the Dover Street flagship is already a huge success and our fellow diners hardly batted an eyelid. Chucs is a place for people who don’t mind spending top whack to eat terrific food and be treated like kings (and queens). For those of you without a superyacht parked in the Med, come only with a rich aunt or an expense account.
Venue says: “Introducing Chucs' Aperitivo Hour – enjoy 50% off all drinks and antipasti, Monday to Thursday, 4-7.30pm.”