Editor’s Pick: Modern Craft Market at Heal’s





Above: Soderlund Davidson / conveyor belt


Above: Crowded launch party at Heal’s

Did your one-hour journey take twice as long? Sound familiar? Travelling across London last week on the day of the Tube strike was challenging. Had I lost my mind to make the deliberate choice to undertake such a journey? Yes, however, it was worth it. And so will your trip. The pain etched across my face disappeared instantly upon arrival at my destination Heal’s for the launch of The Modern Craft Market. Design and craft devotees arrived en masse to fill the ground floor. What a result for Heal’s and the exhibitor’s against all the odds.  Perusing the show was no mean feat. In order to view the work design folk squeezed past the fragile products on display. They were not to be disappointed.

The annual event DISCOVER features some of the most exciting homegrown talent at work in modern craft today. Independent designers and a collective of RCA graduates (the WORKS collective), as well as a carefully chosen group of makers and artisans recognised by Crafts Council and Contemporary Applied Arts present potential homeware heirlooms to the public. Everything is for sale so to buy a considered piece of design head to Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road. The show ends on the 16th February 2014.

Here are my picks from the show:


Above: Works / Patina Candlesticks by Lola Lely

Lola Lely reaffirms her status as one to watch with a new collection of Patina Candlesticks developed in collaboration with Derek Bayley from Bronze Age foundry.

Detail: Hand crafted, irregular, geometric, mixed materials.


Above: Works / Enamelled cast iron stool by Tom Gottelier

Apart from the fact I was overjoyed to find a piece of furniture to match my shoes, the colour blocked Enameled Cast Iron stool has presence in its own right. Having explored the heavyweight material with Hytech Enamelers Tom Gotteleier used the spare space on the production line of Aga Ovens to create the stool. The design is simple, functional and versatile. His interpretation and use of the material feels fresh.

Detail: Cast iron, colour blocking, triangular.


Above: Works / KSMG Glassware by Meret Probst – from £54

Meret’s glasses cannot go unmentioned, albeit they have featured here at the time of the product launch. They do merit a second shout and stood out at the show.  As a fan of all that is faceted I love this design, the colour of the glass and the fact she combines craft with her own technology to create and update everyday objects.

Detail: Milky residue, faceted.


Above: Works / Table by Bobby Petterson, Elliot Hartwell, & Tom Gottelier – £1350

I stopped in my tracks at the ‘Finished’ Table. What a surface. It resembles a purple iridescent sheen of oil and is created with a technique called colour win passivation. This piece is part of a range of folded steel furniture and homewares applied with visible yet subtle industrial finishes and decorative detail such as bolts and screws. The collection is produced as a collaborative project by emerging designers Bobby PettersonElliot Hartwell, & Tom Gottelier ex RCA graduates. Now their focus is on celebrating the refined qualities of functional finishes inherent in industrial hardware and highlighting them in the design.

Detail: Iridescent metal, colour win passivation, decorative industrial finishes.


Above: Works / Sue Pryke

Sue Pryke effortlessly creates award winning designs working alongside small manufacturers in the UK using a variety of processes and materials. She is amongst a growing number of designers taking an ordinary object to portray in her own signature style. If you are looking for a sure bet this work is an investment, the simple designs will stand the test of time.

Detail: Fine tuned, glazed vs unglazed, functional.


Above: Contemporary Applied Arts / Derek Wilson


Above: Contemporary Applied Arts / Derek Wilson from £38.


Above: Contemporary Applied Arts / Derek Wilson

Belfast based Derek Wilson designs minimal contemporary objects. His search for simplicity of form draws inspiration upon a diverse range of sources from mid-century British Constructivism to the history of the ceramic industry in Europe and Asia. At Heal’s I discovered this handmade set and his versatility. I love the placement of the handles on the mugs, which are perfectly balanced adding appeal. They appear sculptural. The pouring jugs clearly reference his passion for oriental tableware. Available in a palette of olive green, ochre and grey the highly desirable collection at the end of the day will improve the table of any home.

Detail: Oriental, ceramic trays, elongated mugs.


Above: Crafts Council / Katherine May


Above: Crafts Council / Katherine May

Quilt queen Katherine May inspired many young designers with her quirky early work. Nowadays the style is mature, and she is the leading lady of British quilt design. Her designs are unique, no two are the same; Katherine offers personalisation for clients and all combinations offer vivid textile configurations. At the show she plays with traditional geometrics adding a twist to the design. The quilt best representing her unique style contains reflective fabric; it is a definite crowd pleaser.

Detail: Geometric, traditional layout, unconventional material.


Above:  Crafts Council / Beatrice Larkin

Monochrome palette. Manipulated hand drawing. Traditional weave structure. Offset patterns. The list goes on. All define the work of Beatrice Larkin. Unexpected geometrics are woven in a freehand style. The wool, cashmere and silk finished throws convey quality, honesty and longevity.

Detail: Monochrome, irregular pattern, geometric.


Above: Soderlund Davidson / Conveyor belt


Above: Soderlund Davidson

Mix and match candlesticks.

Details: Textured, build up, tailored.


Above: Soderlund Davidson

Finally, it was impossible to miss the meteoric 15m-conveyor belt Swedish by design duo, Soderlund Davidson. Installed in the window the conveyor belt displays the duo’s original sculptural objects, available for customer personalisation.

In the era when online shopping looks set to overtake the traditional format it is refreshing to see such a fined tuned line up of events, demonstrations and workshops. Held in-store throughout the fortnight customers have the opportunity to meet the makers, putting a face to the product. Expect an real experience. Could this be the answer for British retail? I believe so. Do you agree?


For workshop details visit: www.heals.co.uk


2 Responses to “Editor’s Pick: Modern Craft Market at Heal’s”

  1. Charlie Davidon February 12, 2014 at 12:59 am #

    Good to see the Heal’s Craft Market getting some cred.

  2. Despoke March 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    Well deserved.