London Craft Fair Delivers Eared Animal Hats and Ping Pong Jewellery
Images by B. Alter: Barbara Keal
Origin: The London Craft Fair has almost 200 crafts people displaying their wares this year. So it is an eclectic and sometimes eccentric mix of things to see and buy.
Speaking of eccentric, and before anyone gets too excited, these are hats made out of Sussex wool and alpaca fleece which has been felted. These hairy animal hats in natural colours are inspired by the local sheep and imagined beasts. Welcome to the craft fair...
Barbara Keal "loves felting because it it such an immediate and physical way of making, it is also very environmentally clean. The wool hasn't travelled far and warm water and olive oil soap are the only other ingredients apart from my own energy."
She was inspired by the "wild and motley looking crew of herdwicks, hebredians and others kept to maintain the downland environment. I desperately wanted to wear their wool, feeling it would be one way of making myself a part of that landscape, so I approached the Shepherd and felted myself a dress using a mixture of their fleeces." The hats are all one of a kind and you will be too when you wear it.
Speaking of eccentric, this must be the first time that ping pong balls have been used along with semi-precious stones and pearls in jewellery. Kiwon Wang uses everyday materials, such as bits of the New York Times for necklaces, along with the precious stones to make her jewellery. On the ping pong balls she has painted words from the philosophy of her life.
Tanvi Kant's work has become more cerebral and intellectual since we last saw it in 2008. She references textile crafts drawn from her Indian Gujarati cultural heritage as well as using processes that allude to ethnographic textile craft techniques.
In this piece she uses recycled material from the under garments of saris and binds it by hand with embroidery thread. It looks primitive but in fact it is the ancient technique used in tie dying. So she is reversing the process: instead of seeing the final product, one gets to understand and appreciate the technique. The technique is the final product.
A number of jewellers play on themes of nostalgia, using fragments of vintage lace, buttons,and bits of old necklaces. They are interested in the sentimental attachments these pieces have and the stories that they tell.
Betty Pepper loves the retro look. She collects old maps and cloth; calling them the orphans of the charity shops. She finds it sad when things get thrown out so she is giving them a new life. This piece uses an old book and old pale roses to create a strong wave of nostalgia. Other works include earrings made of old black lace.
Becky Adams uses stitched paper, vintage fabric, sketchbook and antique ephemera to create intricate paper and book works. She sees her work as a recollection of past experience. She uses all recycled fabrics, including old thread. Many of the materials are from her grandparents' old house which is part of her instinct to preserve the past.
She loves to fix up broken things and give them a new life. Hence this wonderfully re-upholstered trailer which was someone's toy a long time ago. Note the wheels on the bus made out of spools. It's part of her "make do and mend" philosophy.
Louise Frances Evans
This vintage child's dress, stencilled with a photo, is irresistible. Louise Frances Evans is an old hand at Origins and she continues to delight. She takes a feminist perspective in her work; describing it as "narrative jewellery exploring expectations surrounding women, influenced by the theory of family photography, women's work and domesticity."