LDF18: South East Makers Club Puts Deptford on the Map

Perhaps more than any other part of the London Design Festival, South East Makers Club is what design fairs are all about. Run by a tiny team of just three volunteers and hosted in borrowed space, the venture showcases talent from Deptford – a corner of London many design aficionados might never have ventured to before. “One of the joys of South East Makers Club is meeting the talented designers, makers and businesses that are based here,” says co-founder Helen Osgerby. “There is a genuine shared desire to work together, to collaborate and help one another to realize bold ideas, and perhaps uniquely, to have fun doing it! Everything about the South East Makers Club relies on people being good, kind and generous.”

Sebastian Cox, who is based in nearby Woolwich, chose the event to launch his Pendean collection. “Batch produced with simple chamfer details in English ash, this collection comes from the same thinking as William Morris’s Workaday furniture – simple, useful and reasonably priced,” says Sebastian. “The name Pendean, like Bayleaf, comes from The Weald and Downland museum. Pendean is the smaller and less grand (but no less wonderful) neighbor of Bayleaf House. We tried to imagine a collection for Pendean today.”

Makers House is a collaborative exhibition curated by Georgia Bosson made up of three “rooms” each one featuring work by Georgia herself, Grain & Knot, Havelock studio, Melisa Dora, Ornamental Grace and Paper Wilds.

The space was brought to life with a series of displays and demonstrations showcasing the processes behind each of the makers’ products – a paper marbling workshop run by Paper Wilds produced instantly spectacular results.

Olivia Holland is an award-winning textile designer specializing in knitwear. “My practice aims to challenge people’s preconceptions of knitwear, its aesthetic and what it can become,” she says. She grew up in South London and cites Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith amongst her inspirations.

Lily Pearmain studied Russian and sourdough baking before finding her way into pottery. “It was during my time baking that I became interested in making, and this approach is evident in my ceramic work today,” she says. “I’m driven by experimenting with new processes and approaches to clay as a material while keeping the work clean – often using simple forms. Predominantly I use the potter’s wheel, even for sculptural pieces, with minimal glazing.”

iya studio / iyouall is a multi-disciplinary design studio and shop combined in Deptford’s Market Yard. Alongside a curated range of design-led homewares, they launched a new range of their own notebooks. “Produced as an edition of three different formats and colorways, the subtle design techniques and high-end materials suit everyone from designers and doodlers to serial note takers,” they say.

Tim Walker Studio was showing prototypes of a new – surprisingly lightweight – collection made from recycled and pigmented concrete. “I am currently exploring the use of recycled construction waste and lightweight building mortar,” says Tim. “My most recent collection of work demonstrates, through various casting techniques, how these materials can be applied to produce a collection of contemporary interior products, whilst addressing the need for reducing commercial and industrial waste.”

And finally, Byplace, an immersive installation by Deptford-based design company Giles Miller Studio and fabricators Aldworth James & Bond, was created in celebration of “the marriage between design and making.” The project was supported by Deptford Market Yard, structural engineering specialists Shockledge and material sponsor DHH Timber.

Katie Treggiden is a purpose-driven journalist, author and, podcaster championing a circular approach to design – because Planet Earth needs better stories. She is also the founder and director of Making Design Circular, a program and membership community for designer-makers who want to join the circular economy. With 20 years' experience in the creative industries, she regularly contributes to publications such as The Guardian, Crafts Magazine and Monocle24 – as well as being Editor at Large for Design Milk. She is currently exploring the question ‘can craft save the world?’ through an emerging body of work that includes her fifth book, Wasted: When Trash Becomes Treasure (Ludion, 2020), and a podcast, Circular with Katie Treggiden.