TENT London and the V&A

Last Friday we had the privilege of visiting the Tent London design fair in the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane as part of London Design Festival. The range of work on display and variety of techniques and materials used was remarkable. Some exhibiting designers hailed from as far afield as China; others showcased contemporary design from European countries like Portugal, Sweden and Denmark. I’ve picked three of my favourite makers from the show here:

Amy Isles Freeman

I immediately fell in love with Amy’s collection of hand turned and brightly painted wooden bowls. These beautiful, fun but also useful objects are decorated with an assortment of bold nudes, birds and leaves evocative of the paintings and paper cutouts of Henri Matisse and Mexican folk art. To check out more of her distinctive work visit http://www.amyislesfreeman.co.uk/.

Amy Isles Freeman bowls

Lauren Dickinson Clarke

There’s something slightly Monty Pythonesque (or certainly Alice in Wonderlandish) about this collection of illustrated fine bone china. I like the humour in the surreal imagery but also the elegance of the minimal use of colour (black, white and hand-gilded gold finish). All work is handmade in Stoke-on-Trent. For more info visit http://www.laurendickinsonclarke.com/.

The bizarre world of Lauren Dickinson Clarke

Melaine Muir

Melaine Muir was inspired by a traditional Japanese metalworking technique called ‘mokume-gane’ to invent her own process in which she fires polymer veneers. On display were a series of cylinders of different heights and widths decorated with a patchwork of earthy colours and patterns inspired by the seasons and the Scottish highlands in which she lives. Looking on her website it’s interesting to see that she usually uses this technique for brightly coloured statement jewellery. Take a look at http://www.melaniemuir.com/.

‘Coastal Fields’ and ‘High Pastures’ by Melanie Muir

On the return journey we stopped off at the V and A. The museum has a stunning collection of pottery, from early Islamic tiles, traditional aromatic earthenware from Mexico and South Korean plates decorated with transfer papers from copper plate etching, right through to 20th century studio potters like Bernard Leach then onward to the contemporary work of Akiyama Yo and Edmund de Vaal. There’s even Lucie Rie’s studio to see along with a film of her being interviewed by David Attenborough (in which he has to rescue her after she gets stuck in the kiln). I’ll have no shortage of inspiration for a long while to come.

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