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  • Herringbone Objects, Phil Cuttance, 2017. Photo: Martina Lang

Barbican brigade

The Barbican unveils a season of workshops, talks and events in partnership with Crafts magazine

The Barbican Shop is launching its very first curated season, Make!, devoted to all things hand-made. The programme of talks, workshops and installations put together in partnership with Crafts, gives visitors plenty of opportunity to get stuck in. As the Barbican’s head of retail, Jo Davis, puts it: ‘This is a chance to watch the “making” process happen and to take part, learn something new and walk away with a beautifully unique, hand-made product.’

Many of the skills we celebrate in these pages will be on show during the season, from bookbinding to bike building and plenty in between. Highlights include a session on the precise art of paper folding with Glasgow-based maker Kate Colin, Jesmonite casting with Phil Cuttance, as well as a series of half-day workshops with textile maker Christabel Balfour, taking visitors through the basics of hand-weaving before building up to more advanced techniques. And showing off craft’s quirkier side is Silo Studio, sharing its innovative Not So Expanded Polystyrene (NSEPS) process, giving budding makers the chance to create unique pieces from waste polystyrene to take home.

Chamber by Silo Studio, Textile Moulded NSEPS ­- Not So Expanded Polystyrene. Photo: Lauren Coleman

If workshops aren’t your thing, there will also be talks and demonstrations throughout including a walking tour with historian Chris Rogers on the history of making in the architecture of the Square Mile, and a discussion on the rising popularity of bespoke bicycles with the likes of Woman’s Hour Craft Prize finalist Caren Hartley and Matthew Sowter of Saffron Frameworks. 

In the shop itself, look out for a special display of collectable work by a handful of up-and-coming makers including furniture maker Mark Laban [see Crafts no. 263], ceramist Irina Razumovskaya (a LOEWE Craft Prize finalist) and rug maker Alan Oliver. 

 ‘There’s absolutely no doubt that craft has undergone a renaissance in recent years, capturing the public’s imagination,’ says Crafts editor Grant Gibson. ‘We’re delighted to be joining forces with the Barbican this spring to showcase some of the UK’s best creative talent. I think visitors will be surprised.’ 

Make! A Season of Contemporary Craft, 17 March – 3 June 2018. For full details of the programme, see the Barbican’s website. More events will be announced throughout the duration of the season.


Learning to sew with Stitch School. Photo: Gabriela Gesheva