All Images by B. Alter: Amanda Caines
Origin: The London Craft Fair is the annual juried fair where some of the most sophisticated craftspeople from around the world show their wares. This year they have changed the format so that the show is much bigger, but only one week long. With the work of almost 200 crafts people all on display at the same time, there were many first- timers and new faces to be seen.
The theme is "Made not Manufactured", and there are a lot of treasures to be found. Many of the crafts people and jewellers are using natural materials, recycled vintage pieces and even old chocolate wrappers in unique, ingenious, and stylish ways. Our first stop was Amanda Caines and what a find. She makes her necklaces and bracelets from shells, glass, ephemera, sea glass and found objects that she discovers in the Thames River in London. Her husband is a sculptor and he makes the heavy wooden stands for the work.
Joanne Tinker has been collecting bits of foil from chocolates and candies since she was 17. She acknowledges that it is an odd habit, but she just flattened them and put them in books and kept them for years, and pondering ways to use them. Her work is very detailed, and as she says "time consuming and fiddley" but the results are amazing. Recycled chocolate foil wrappers are transformed into sculptures--displayed in perspex cases so that they become suitable for the wall or a table.
This wonderful tea set is woven from paper cord and rattan. It took 3 to 4 months to make, using basketry techniques and its creator, Ann Nazareth, hopes that a museum will buy it. Her smaller pieces, pins and bracelets, are made out of buttons and old telephone wire and woven paper cord. She has always loved textiles and knitting and her work emphasizes the simplicity of design.
It's hard to get more natural than this: these rings are made out of acorns, foraged and gathered in the South Downs. Laura Bennett finds her acorns and thistles in a natural burial site in the area. She treats them with resin and combines them with silver to form pieces that evoke the "nature of fragility." Inspired by organic shapes, she loves rings because she believes that hands are such a powerful way of expressing an emotion.
Grace Girvan makes these lovely necklaces using pebbles found in the Orkney islands and recycled silver. She incorporates bits of driftwood which she finds in her grandfather's shed. She is inspired by the sea and shore where she was raised. Her shapes, colours, compositions and textures reflect this natural, water-dominated background.