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Seeking out those special Christmas gifts

Sources of unique crafted artefacts that make ideal presents

Seeking out those special Christmas gifts

November 16 2011
Lucia van der Post

Those seeking the special and the one-off should head to Made in Clerkenwell in London’s East End, where all sorts of studios that are normally closed to the public are open for just four days twice a year – once in the summer and once in time for Christmas, this year from November 24 to 27 (check the website for full details). Look out for Michelle Mason’s cushions and signature cutaway rugs (from £45 and £350 respectively), for Ikuko Iwamoto’s weirdly wonderful vessels (about £50 for a small vase, £350 for a teapot; Ribosome Container shown right in picture, £480), and for Helen Beard’s porcelain embellished with charming hand-painted illustrations (bowls from £475).

More exquisite porcelain can be seen at the Alain Ducasse restaurant in The Dorchester hotel, which has for some time had on its tables some wonderful vegetable sculptures by the French artist Jean-Paul Gourdon, whose work is usually found only in galleries. These were specially designed for the restaurant, and each table had a different one – asparagus, artichokes (left in picture, £380), cauliflowers, garlic. They are all now for sale up until Christmas. A small piece is £380, while the larger ones are £520. They are very beautiful. Ask at The Dorchester – you don’t have to eat in the restaurant, though it would be rather a pity not to: an à la carte three-course lunch costs £78 per person.