We’ve all heard of The London Design Festival, the annual event that celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world…but have many of us ventured to the south east of the city during the festival to see the hidden talent within this creative hub of London?
Now, South-East London is taking a stand and ruling the final weekend (23rd – 24th September) of The London Design Festival. Set-up by a group of volunteers, The South East Makers Club is showcasing the incredible design talent within the boroughs of the south east and representing the neighbourhood as the vibrant, creative hub we all know it is.
As avid supporters of the arts, we caught up with Helen Osgerby, a key member of the South East Makers Club to hear all about the festival, their work and what we can expect from this weekend of creativity in the part of London we’re proud to call our first home, Deptford.
Could you give us an overview of South East Makers Club?
The South East Makers Club runs during the final weekend of The London Design Festival (23rd-24th September), it is a new Design Route through the creative streets and studios of Deptford, Brockley, New Cross, Nunhead and Peckham.
What types of designers are exhibiting?
We have a real range of designers exhibiting from recent graduates, individual craft makers and small design studios to established brands, internationally renowned craft artists and large-scale fabricators. We have exhibitions, workshops, a screening of 'Made In London’ a series of short film-docs, talks, open studios, a makers market and a ‘designer’ pub quiz. There will also be ceramics, textiles, wood work, furniture, industrial design, products design, graphics, interiors…the whole spectrum of design is hopefully covered.
Who would you recommend this festival to?
Everyone (of course!) We really hope that there is something for everyone along the South East Makers Club Design Route. There is opportunity for locals to engage with their creative neighbours, those with a general interest in design to ‘dip-in’ as well as numerous chances for those with a passion for craft and design to immerse themselves in the creative industries across the South East for the whole weekend.
Are there any specific talks happening you think would be beneficial to aspiring artists/creators
We have curated The Object Talks, a series of talks that are taking place at The Lewisham Arthouse. The idea is for each speaker to give a talk using their objects, their tools and work in progress (rather than slides) to illustrate their work and practice. This relaxed and intimate environment will make for a unique series of talks and we have world renowned wood worker Eleanor Lakelin speaking, Leah Jensen who makes staggeringly intricate ceramic works will give a talk, and award-winning material & surface sculptor Giles Miller will be discussing the marriage of craft and technology within his practice. And finally, maker of exquisite leather bags, Mark Tallowin will talk through his approach and process.
What makes the festival unique?
I truly think it is the energy of our neighbourhood that makes it so special. Genuine creative talent and world class work are presented by people who love what they are doing and are excited to be able to show their work. And hopefully, South East Makers Club has provided up-and-coming designers a chance to showcase their work to a key audience, something that can be hard to do, but something that can be important for emerging designers careers.
Are there any specific designers/artists exhibiting that standout to you?
Oh my goodness, there is almost too many to choose from! There is a huge amount of exciting stuff happening in Deptford, fabricators AJ&B are offering a brilliant ‘Day Of Making’ event, a chance to make a stool or side table in their workshops; Georgia Bosson’s Makers House pulls together the work of several local makers and showcases their work in individual rooms ‘sets’; IYA Studio has curated the Original Only exhibition and Sebastian Cox is showing new pieces in his Bayleaf collection of furniture which will be wonderful to see. In Peckham at the Copeland Gallery Unit Lab’s Water exhibition will be fascinating and challenging and Brockley based Simple Shape’s ‘Meander’ show will have new work and demonstrations by the creative directors of Superfolk.
Could you share a little about your own background and how you came to be involved with the festival?
The SEMC was set up by a tiny team of volunteers with a passion for design and a love of South East London! Last year it dawned on us that there is incredible design talent in this neighbourhood and that we should be better represented during London Design Festival…setting up South East Makers Club suddenly seemed essential and obvious.
Finally, if a member of the public would like to attend, how do they do so?
The very best thing to do is to plan your weekend using our website - all the events are listed and there is a map locating each event: www.southeastmakersclub.co.uk Nearly everything is free, (although there is a charge for one or two of the bespoke workshops) and for some of the events you need to reserve a place for - so plan ahead!