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  • Renee So, Reclining Male. Photo: courtesy Kate MacGarry

15 craft exhibitions to see in the UK this October

From culture clashes in Cardiff to William Morris in Walthamstow

To help you fill your diary this month, we've picked out the best craft shows across the nation, spanning a myriad of disciplines. Visiting London? Check out our Frieze week round-up of craft in the capital. To discover more of October’s highlights, pick up the latest issue of Crafts magazine. 

Lettering by Graham Stewart. Photo: courtesy Ruthin Craft Centre

Lettering: Art & Illusion

Spanning calligraphy, letter cutting, painting and engraving, this exhibition features pieces by 28 makers who bring a contemporary sensibility to an ancient art form, creating work in stone, glass, metal, paper, parchment and vellum.

19 October 2019 – 12 January 2020 at the Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire.

Inspired by the east: how the Islamic world influenced western art

This blockbuster exhibition at the British Museum explores the complex cultural relationship between Europe/North America and North Africa/the Middle East across the last six centuries.

10 October – 26 January 2020 at the British Museum, London.

Wool Works: MaP/Modus

MaP, a Welsh group of textile makers, and Modus, a Finnish makers group, collaborated to put together this show of new glass, jewellery, textiles and mixed media work inspired by the cultural crossovers of each country.

Until 10 November at the Makers Guild Wales, Cardiff.  

Gerhard Marcks, small altarpiece, 1920. Photo: Courtesy Gerhard Marcks Haus, Bremen

Pioneers: William Morris and the Bauhaus

The UK’s first exhibition dedicated to the influence of the English Arts and Crafts figurehead on the radical German design school is going on show at William Morris’s childhood home in Walthamstow.

19 October – 26 January 2020 at the William Morris Gallery, London.

Jane Adam: Never the same river 

This retrospective of influential jeweller Jane Adams features pieces made across the last 35 years alongside new work in precious metals and aluminium. Can’t make it to Liverpool? Look out for the exhibition as it travels to venues in Wales and London next year.

Until 26 October at Bluecoat Display Centre, Liverpool. 

Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize

Works by emerging ceramic artists shortlisted for this biennial award – a collaboration between gallerist Cynthia Corbett and collector Maylis Grand – are going on show at La Galleria Pall Mall in the Royal Opera arcade.

30 September – 5 October at Galleria Pall Mall, London. 

Kazuhito Takadoi, Kuro 1, 2017. Photo: courtesy Jaggedart

Alliance | Exchange

Jaggedart presents what they call ‘a conversation’ between Kazuhito Takadoi – the cover star of Crafts’ current issue – and Patricia Swannell. The makers have worked collaboratively, creating joint pieces that are sewn, embroidered, constructed, printed or drawn, which will be shown alongside their solo work. 

10 October – 7 November at jaggedart, London. 

Kiki Smith: I Am A Wanderer

This retrospective exhibition focuses on three areas of the German-born artist’s practise: sculptures in bronze, porcelain and crystal; etchings, drawings and prints; and intricate Jacquard tapestries. All focus on Smith’s favourite subject matter: storytelling and mythology.

Until 19 January at Modern Art Oxford.

William Blake

The latest blockbuster at Tate Britain features a staggering 300 works by the visionary painter, printmaker and poet William Blake. In the latest issue of Crafts, Tanya Harrod explains why Blake’s wife, Catherine, should at last be given her due as the craftswoman behind his famous engravings. 

Until 2 February at Tate Britain, London.

Ruth Franklin, Blue Sewing Machine. Photo: courtesy the artist

Unearthed

Friends and colleagues Ruth Franklin, Sara Radstone and Kate Starkey come together at the atmospheric House Mill – an 18th-century tidal mill in London’s East End – for this show spanning clay, paper and mixed media sculpture.

9–13 October at House Mill, London.

Jerwood Makers Open

Jerwood Arts’ early career showcase tours to Lincolnshire, presenting new commissions by Lucie Gledhill, Abigail Booth and Max Bainbridge (Forest + Found), Mark Corfield-Moore, Tana West and Bethan Lloyd Worthington.

5 Oct – 19 January 2020 at the National Centre for Crafts & Design, Sleaford.

James Tower: A centenary celebration

On what would have been his 100th birthday, the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath is offering an overview of ceramic artist James Tower’s work, featuring 40 large sculptures.

Until 24 November at the Victoria Art Gallery, Bath.

Hylton Nel, Antwerp 1967. Photo: courtesy Oxford Ceramics Gallery

Graphic Pots

This bright and bold group show mixes work by British and international ceramic artists, who are united by their irreverent aesthetic approach. Makers include Stephen Bird, Hylton Nel, John Piper, Philip Eglin and Bruce McLean.

Until 26 October at Oxford Ceramics Gallery. 

Neil Bottle: Thirty Years in the Making - All That Remains

Contemporary Applied Arts opens its new gallery in Marylebone with a solo show of wall hung pieces by textile artist Neil Bottle, who combines hand-making techniques with digital skills to create works filled with nostalgic images of family.

Until 16 Oct at CAA, London.

Renee So: Ancient and Modern

A residency at West Dean College resulted in a fantastical new body of work by Renee So – woven and knitted textiles, furniture and ceramics inspired by representations of the female figure in prehistoric cultures – now on show at the De La Warr Pavilion. 

Until 12 January at De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea.

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