Craftworks, a new destination for London Craft Week announces its
themes, features and talks line-up.
Jay Blades MBE presents the past, present and future of craft at Shoreditch Town Hall
April 2024


Craftworks is a brand new trade show hosting the very best of arts, craft and design. It promises to
be a true East London destination for London Craft Week, which takes place across all three floors of
the impressive Shoreditch Town Hall, 15-17 May 2024, and aims to bring together a truly diverse
array of 100 high end makers, celebrating talent from all walks of life.

Presented by furniture restorer, co-chair of Heritage Crafts and presenter Jay Blades MBE,
Craftworks, brought to you by Cox London, will bring together the country’s premier craft
organisations and businesses, including QEST, Design-Nation, SCP and more to honour the past
through through preserving traditional skills, celebrate the thriving present of British craftsmanship in all of its diversity, and secure the future of craft by giving a platform to dynamic new makers.
Visitors to Craftworks 2024 can explore a variety of vital themes and features, all centred around the
past, present and future of craft:

Zero Waste Craft
The circularity and sustainability of craft practices is key to many of the exhibitors in the show. Textile
artist Caroline Hyde-Brown will be exhibiting works made from bio-materials, hand-woven and
embroidered pieces made from foraged materials like lichen, hemp, flax and grasses. She tells stories
through extraction of natural colour from flowers, herbs and weeds growing in her own garden to echo
the ephemeral and fragile quality of the threads.

Bristol-based metalworker Willow Bloomfield is exhibiting a new series of vessels made from 100%
recycled copper, largely sourced from old hotwater tanks, using a process of electrolysis typically
associated with industrial practices in precious metal recycling and refinement.

Represented by QEST at Craftworks, Lulu Harrison is a glass artist based between Oxford and
London. As a researcher and maker in sustainable material development, she creates glass artefacts
inspired by primitive glass making and in the ‘Thames Glass’ series she’ll be exhibiting at Craftworks,
uses salvaged glass and waste materials sourced in and around the River Thames, including local
river sands, wood ashes and waste quagga mussel shells.

Craftworks will also play host to a ‘Zero Waste Crafting’ panel event as part of the talks line-up,
discussing the importance of global responsibility and circularity in making practices.

Access to Craft
Craftworks seeks to disrupt public perception of the craft industry, platforming untold stories and talent
that has traditionally been sidelined. Over 100 makers comprise the exhibitors at Craftworks, and
through their diversity the show demonstrates that craft is an industry for people of all backgrounds,
abilities, ages and identities.

Craftworks is partnering with The Black Artisans and will play host to an exhibition of their latest
photo project of twelve Black Artisans across the UK, photographed at work in their studios which
seeks to make visible Black Artisans and to enlighten, educate and inspire people and in particular
young people to explore these areas as a potential career path.

A proportion of Craftworks makers are from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in
craft, or include those who have found craft as a secondary career, many of which have found craft
has given them direction through mental health struggles.
Mosaic Artist Dionne Ible, who is part of The Black Artisans, will be exhibiting her mosaic works as Qemamu Mosaics, inspired by her Caribbean/African heritage at Craftworks. Dionne left her 9-5 job
as a Legal Secretary after self-funding a life changing 10 week mosaic course, to focus on her mosaic
art depicting matriarchal figures and landscapes full time.
Former construction worker turned-textile-designer Graeme Bone will be exhibiting his traditionally
made kilts, made in his studio in Aberdeenshire. Graeme facilitated his career change through
winning a space on The Modern Artisans, a training programme run by Craftworks partner The King’s
Foundation, with YOOX Net-a-Porter.

‘Artsmith’ Bex Simon, the first woman to receive the Tonypandy Cup, the most prestigious award
given by the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, has bipolar and explores this within her work, even
being commissioned by the Campbell Mental Health centre in Milton Keynes to design metalwork with
their patients. Bex originally set up her own creative blacksmithing business in 1999 with financial aid
from The King’s Trust, and applies learnings from her recent courses in geometry, funded under a
scholarship from QEST, to the new contemporary style in her metalwork pieces.

The Craftworks talks programme line-up will include a panel presented by Founder of The Black
Artisans project, Jo Sealy, and also a talk chaired by Jay Blades titled ‘How Craft Made Me’ – featuring
a panel of exhibitors from the show who have navigated difficult times in their lives with craft.

Craft Really Works

A feature showcase of craft as an activity for the well-being of society, Craft Really Works is a collection of projects and approaches from all parts of the UK that are focused on the positive side effects of craft and making.

The exhibition will include pieces from more than 10 different projects, including Fine Cell Work, a UK-based rehabilitation charity and social enterprise which makes beautiful handmade products in British prisons; ACEarts, a registered charity based in Somerton that uses art and craft activities as a tool for wellbeing in their community and Mud Gang Pottery a female-led ceramics studio, on a mission to make clay activities accessible to everyone.

ACEarts will be showing 4 selected works from their recent In Stitches community textiles project, using fabric and stitch to unite participants in a shared language of making. In Stitches means laughing uncontrollably and we asked participants to think about their own memories of joy and laughter as inspiration. The 58 inspiring works are a showcase of how art can bring people together and foster a sense of community. The other 54 works from the project will be on display at Crewkerne Museum and Heritage Centre until 11 May – see their website for more details.

Find out more about In Stitches here

Crafting Futures
Craftworks will play host to an education morning on the Friday of the show to inspire young people
from all backgrounds into a career in craft. We’ll be working with several craft-focused universities to
invite students to attend, and that morning’s on stage talks line-up will be tailored to suit them,
including a series of ‘Craft Conversations’ with established craftspeople, plus a panel event titled ‘The
Business of Making’ featuring Jay Blades, ceramics conservator Kirsten Ramsey and several other
prominent makers who have set up successful businesses in craft. Craftworks aims to create a legacy
of supporting up-and-coming talent and be a vital maker-led point of connection between apprentices
and apprenticeships.

The Red List of Endangered Crafts Showcase
Heritage Crafts, the national charity for traditional heritage crafts which works in partnership with the
Government is hosting a showcase of some of the craft skills which are in danger of becoming extinct
in the UK. Visitors to Craftworks can explore institutions including Whitchurch Silk Mill (the oldest
working silk mill in Britain), the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and more, with an aim to work
towards a healthy and sustainable framework for the future of these heritage craft skills.

Craftworks will play host to three full days of cutting-edge craft conversations and topical talks from
industry leaders and the country’s finest makers. From future-facing talks on how AI will revolutionise
the craft industry, to galvanising events on what we can do to save the endangered crafts on the Red
List – attendees will hear from thought leaders, journalists, CEO’s of Britain’s biggest craft companies
and trend analysts.
Nicola and Chris Cox, co-founders of Cox London and Craftworks’ headline sponsor, will join a stellar
line-up of industry experts and global craft business leaders from Soane, Timorous Beasties and
more on the talks programme, sharing their insights and passion for preserving the British craft

Speakers will include Jay Blades MBE, Crafts magazine editor Debika Ray, QEST CEO Deborah
Pocock, technologist Jude Pullen and presenter and ceramics conservator Kirsten Ramsey.
Fortnum & Mason, sponsors of the Assembly space at the show, will also host a panel, chaired by
Jay Blades, of some of Britain’s most accomplished designers and craftspeople who are all part of
their ‘Fortnum & Makers’ exhibition at their flagship Piccadilly store.
Dates: 15-17 May
Opening Hours: Wednesday 9am – 7pm, Thursday 11am – 9pm, Friday 9am – 5pm
Entry: Free with advance registration. Register online here.
Address: Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London, EC1V 9LT | | #craftworks2024


CRAFTWORKS show website