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Cockpit Arts Open Studios

Cockpit Arts provides dedicated studio space and business support for creative businesses (https://cockpitarts.com/). They have two bases in London; Holborn and Deptford. Over the last couple of weekends they have been hosting an open studio for their makers and designers to exhibit their work. Having recently visited the Holborn studios for an embroidery workshop (see blog post from 27th May 2019), I decided to go along to the Deptford studios to take a look at what was going on there.

Several workshops were running over the course of the weekend so I booked myself onto ‘Make a Marbled Letter’ run by Lucy McGrath from Marmor Paperie (https://marmorpaperie.co.uk/). It was more of a taster session, which she ran in her studio for me and one other person. It lasted half an hour and she explained how marbling works and the materials you require for it. She also told us about how it originated in Turkey and spread across Europe, with each region adopting their own style and techniques.

Lucy explained that the correct process uses water thickened with Irish moss to allow the paint to spread out on the surface rather than just sink. We each had a go of cleaning the surface of the water, flicking the paint to create different layers and patterns of colour and moving the paint on the surface to make effects such as feathering. We then had two test runs on paper before going ahead with our wooden letters. The results are unpredictable and surprising but this craft creates such organic, original pieces that it’s hard not to like it!

The workshop did feel a little rushed and cramped as other people were coming in to look at the products on display but Lucy does run full workshops in a larger area. I would definitely consider going along to one to see what other patterns I can create and make some lovely unique paper.

There were four floors of studios filled with an amazing array of designers and makers, ranging from leather work and textiles to ceramics and jewellery and lots more in between. Most of the designers were very welcoming and were keen to talk about their work. I had a lovely chat with an illustrator called Ruth Martin (https://www.nothingbuttheruth.co.uk/) who produces some really fun pieces. I bought a biscuit print off her, which I’m hoping to find a space for in the kitchen. I also liked Another Studio’s (https://www.another-studio.com/) metal ornaments and gifts and bought a mini make-it-yourself kit.

Whilst I was there I was also told that Cockpit Arts have another open studio near to Christmas so that could be a great opportunity to stock up on some gifts from independent makers!

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