I recently paid a visit to Origin Craft Fair in Old Spitalfields Market, the annual showcase of original contemporary craft that brings together 220 of the most innovative makers from all over the UK. Here are some of my favorites from 2010 (to learn why, watch the video tour of my market visit).
RACHEL DORMOR CERAMICS
There's something beautifully tactile about the simple, elegant shapes of Rachel Dormor's finely thrown porcelain tableware that makes setting the table an absolute joy. Based in Stoke on Trent, Dormor has been making pots since she was 14 years old. For stockists, go to Rachel Dormor. In the US, her work can be found at Ochre in New York, Red Ticking in Seattle, and online at Blithe.
Above: Rachel Dormor Side Plate, available in retro blue, white, or pale green; £20 at Bouf.
Above: Rachel Dormor Salt Pot with wooden spoon; £25 at Bouf.
Above: Cereal Bowl; £20 at Bouf.
By her own account, Anya Keeley is a compulsive collector of found objects and ephemera. Her mind works in curious ways as she collages and creates creatures and objets from a wonderful world that is a figment of her imagination. We especially like her interpretation of the Christmas tree, shown below, hung with whimsical ornaments.
Barbara Keal is a performance artist and a felt maker, which no doubt explains her hats. As she says, "Big furry ears make me happy. It might work for you, too." If Keal had her way, we'd all be outfitted in her felt creations. "Can you imagine the winter high street bustling with creatures? Foxes, badgers, the odd minataur, not to mention all the beasts you can't name."
Above L: Hairy Fox; £85. Above R: Exmoor Ewe; £85. To commission a hat, go to Barbara Keal Feltwork.
MUIR AND OSBORNE
For all those dog lovers out there, knitwear designers Muir and Osborne have created knit dogs of all shapes, breeds, and sizes. They've even come out with a book, Best in Show: Knit Your Own Dog ($16.76 at Amazon), that teaches you how to knit a woolly version of your own precious pet; you can also purchase one of their Limited Edition kits. For the non-DIYer, Muir and Osborne offer a knitted dog portraiture service.
Above: Fox Terrier and Whippet.
Above: Best in Show: Knit Your Own Dog; $16.76 at Amazon.
Above: A dog's day out.