The Craft Lab: an experiment, a challenge, an invitation.
Saturday 29 July Malthouse Creative Booths, Abbey Rd, Barking IG117BT.
Crafts sometimes come a poor second in public representation in relation to art. There are common misconceptions about the limits or boundaries of craft or artisan skills and little appreciation of the benefit they have and their place in a consumer led market. This event is also taking place in a borough that has only just woken up to the fact that Art & creativity, Crafts and learning creative skills are not only important but thriving and boosting the local economy just a few miles east. Meanwhile craft skills and sales events here in Barking & Dagenham sadly still mostly compromise of a non ironic 1970s reproductions or ( maybe worse ) complete clones of things seen on the craft shopping channels. People are not experimenting but instead are reproducing. At The The Craft Lab questions will be encouraged such as What's the local response to the future of UK craft? Is there a viable career in craft? Where can crafts be taught/learnt? What's it like to work in the craft industry? How do you fit this in with family? Or whatever other questions participants want to ask.
I'm a middle aged single mother emerging artist-designer/maker, born in Barking and living in Dagenham, who has lived here all my life somewhat astonished at the lack of local creative thinking. Things are thankfully changing locally but there has been an omission for crafts and so I decided to throw my energy into putting on this pioneering event. I have invited craft experts to run workshops ( charge), there's an advice session for small businesses, a craft Q& A session, a forum to discuss how crafts can move forward and a chance to network. I will be reporting my findings to the council and local creative agencies. And there will be a few craft stalls ( not many people trusting a new event maybe? ) In the venue there are studio spaces to browse if interested in hiring a workspace. This is all taking place right opposite Bow Arts Ice House Studios on the same day as their Open Studios so it's a more enticing two-for-one excursion for those traveling from elsewhere. The contrast of a ten minute walk from Barking station will surprise you with the potential as you turn the corner into the Ice House Quarter. And there's a brilliant bar with Riverside terrace just next door.
This event might be small, it's also unfunded but it IS call out for responses.