Fairs and exhibitions are all very well, but nothing marks an art genre’s position on the social, economic and cultural scene quite like its own dedicated week. Champions of the applied arts will therefore be thrilled by the imminent launch of London Craft Week, an independent, not-for-profit festival of crafts supported by founding partner Vacheron Constantin and Arts Council England, as well as the Mayor of London, the Crafts Council, Walpole and the Heritage Crafts Association.
Running from May 6-10 at venues across the city, LCW’s aim is to introduce the talent and techniques behind an assortment of beautifully made things to a wider audience by enabling them to experience craft, not just as static branded objects in smart shops, but through an exciting programme of exhibitions, workshops and discussions. It encompasses long-standing events such as high-end selling show Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, a major exhibition What is Luxury? presented by The Crafts Council at the Victoria & Albert Museum and numerous events at such hubs of style and creativity as Asprey, Fenwick, The New Craftsmen and Soane Britain.
The Crafted City at Contemporary Applied Arts is one of the many special events taking place. Designed to be a demonstration of the excellence of craftsmanship in the UK, The Crafted City will be set in an innovative, purpose-built pavilion behind the Southwark Street gallery itself and will host a showcase of specially commissioned work by leading CAA makers, including glass artists Michael Ruh, Kate Maestri and Simon Moore (Balustrade glass vases by Simon Moore, from £755, first picture). So new is this work that much of it is yet to be completed, but expect exquisite handblown pendant lights from Ruh (drawing for the design of a pendant light by Michael Ruh, about £980, second picture) and an innovative stained-glass panel from Maestri (drawing of architectural glass panel inside the Crafted Pavilion by Kate Maestri, £25,000, third picture).
This beautifully crafted pavilion is more than an exhibition space; it is also a place for audiences to meet, talk, learn about and explore craft through a programme of workshops, discussions and masterclasses. Not to be missed is “MasterClass: Touching Metal with silversmith Adi Toch” (£10) on May 9 which offers a rare chance to hear this internationally acclaimed silversmith reflecting on her processes, the ideas behind her recent work and the links between thinking and making (plump segmented cup in Britannia silver by Adi Toch, £1,150, fourth picture).
Whether your intention is to consume or simply converse, if you appreciate beauty and the value of craftsmanship, then London Craft Week is one of the month’s must-visit events.