make your nest the best

Artsmart 2011

Last weekend we were running the Choc Star van at a new art event for London’s art students and alumni: Artsmart. Situated in the  courtyard of the Chelsea College of Art and design, opposite Tate Britain, the two day pop-up market hosted a wonderful, inspiring and exciting array of crafts from across the board, from handmade cushions and textiles to recycled jewellery and stained glasswork. There were also live performance pieces and a number of free talks and workshops for creative entrepreneurs, but my choc van duties took precedence. I did, however, have the chance to check out all the stalls (and buy a few treats), and here are my highlights:

Heart Zeena

Zeena had the kind of stall you immediately run towards, brimming with colourful little birds and hearts and pouches of England’s finest lavender. She is so talented and her cushions in particular always make me smile. We had plenty of time to catch up over the two days, as well as at Cally Festival which we both worked on Sunday, and she told me about her plans for the autumn and what she is up to at the moment. Her cute little sticky tape rolls are being snapped up all over London, and I wait with bated breath for some lovely, cosy-sounding additions to the line come winter.






Hiroko Matsushita

A self-confessed paperholic, illustrator and paper-cutter extraordinaire Hiroko creates beautiful hand-drawn and hand-cut paperwork in all shapes and sizes – with painstaking attention to line and detail. My top picks were her 3-D boxes with carved card messages such as “Happy with You”, “Thank You” and “Good Luck”, which give old messages new depth of meaning in their beautiful intricacy and detail; her handmade illustrated crackers; and her I Heart Tea card which comes complete with a cardboard Rich Tea to dunk.





She is available for commissions, and I was enchanted by every piece I saw.


Namiko Murakoshi

Namiko’s smiley NamNam ceramic plant pots are very sweet. Thrown with a lovely rough and grainy clay, they are simple yet striking in a bold, earthy way. Each one is named after the friend who inspired it (I now have Maurizio, the happiest of the crop, on my shelves) and they look extra sweet huddled together as a little family.


She also makes bowls and chopstick holders out of carefully constructed balls of coloured porcelain clay, with no glazes, which are lovely and clean and bright in their shiny simplicity.



I also liked the London Chair Collective, who reupholster chairs in funky colourways and textures:


And last but by no means least, the delicious Vietnamese baguettes by Banh Mi 11, which truly are love at first bite:




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