Saturday, 20 May 2017

PaisleyMake at London Craft Week 2017

As I was deciding which demonstrations and events to attend during this year's London Craft Week (LCW), one theme became clear and I was delighted to get places on LCW events hosted by PaisleyMake. My previous work with Norwich Shawls had introduced me to the world of Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley Pattern and I was keen to learn more. 

My Paisley Pin Designs from the LCW Workshop
The town of Paisley is currently bidding to become U.K. City of Culture in 2021. Last September there were a series of exciting events in Paisley and the organisers had brought this enthusiasm to London for LCW. On Wednesday 3rd May I attended an evening reception at the Scotland Office in Westminster where several exciting announcements were made. The official Paisley 2021 bid had just been launched and Penny Martin, editor in chief of the Gentlewoman Magazine gave an excellent speech in support. Penny had contributed many ideas and is a great promoter of all elements of the bid. 

Knitwear company Pringle of Scotland followed Penny's speech by announcing details of their AW17 collection. This new collection was developed with the Paisley Museum archive and will feature designs originating from Paisley. The company explored printing on knitwear for this collection and I can't wait to see the garments in store from August 2017.

A few weeks ago I visited the Paisley Museum in Paisley and discovered that it will close next year for a multi-million pound refurbishment. The new museum will put much more emphasis on the weaving looms that are currently located towards the back of the museum. The archive of stunning shawls and designs for the shawls will also play a prominent role. It was therefore a delight to talk to Dr Dan Coughlan, the curator of the museum on Wednesday evening. He is the driving force behind the restoration of the weaving looms and his knowledge of the looms is second to none. He told us how he had rebuilt many of them in order to have working looms at the Museum. Hearing about the huge archive was amazing and as well as original Paisley pattern sample books, there is even a Norwich Shawls pattern book in the collection!

A section of a Paisley Shawl from the Paisley Museum
on display at G F Smith
PaisleyMake also supports new designers and emerging talent. I was delighted to be introduced to two creative businesses through workshops on Thursday 4th May at the G F Smith Showspace. G F Smith is a paper merchant supplying a wide range of papers to industry and individuals. Their Showspace provided a fantastic location for PaisleyMake to highlight the designers involved in the project.

The G F Smith Wall of paper
Misty Concepts is run by the talented designer Melissa Watt. Her speciality is origami and one of her stunning paper folded lampshades was on display at the ShowSpace. Mel's workshop explored the origami skills she uses in her business and we all enjoyed making folded cranes and a lily too. I will also be looking out for Mel's folded lampshade workshops in Paisley and London. 

Origami Lampshade by Misty Concepts
During a recent visit to The Lighthouse in Glasgow, I spotted a display by Paisley Pins. This creative business uses the famous Paisley teardrop design as the basis for beautiful brooches and jewellery. The afternoon's Paisley pattern workshop explored some of these designs. There were amazing pattern books, pens, pencils and more for us to experiment with. Andrea and Laura were really great tutors and we were all excited when they photographed our drawings and told us they will make one of them into a laser cut pin for each of us. Mine has just arrived and I love it!

I hope that my two blog posts have given you a taste of events and talks than happen as part of London Craft Week. I'm already looking forward to next year (9th to 13th May 2018) and can't wait to see what is included in the programme! Look out for updates on the LCW website.

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