October 2020

Hello, everyone! This time I want to share some information which might be useful for other leather maker and designers.

Last week as a part of London Craft Week program, I visited Deptford Cockpitarts Studios. It is a memorable place for me. First of all, this is where I attended my first bag making course and realised it is to become my new profession. Then at some point last year I was invited for an interview with Cockpit Arts / Leathersellers’ Award. It was a great opportunity. I was looking so much forward to it, but got so excited that mixed up the dates and failed to show up for the interview. It has never happened to me before with important appointments, so I felt quite terrible afterwards. Anyway, later I found and rented a nice studio space in Kingston town centre, within walking distance from home, decorated the room and started working from there. Suddenly, a phone call from Cockpit Arts came informing me that even though the deadlines of the competition have passed the awards panel decided to reconvene again to talk to me (apparently, my non-show was intriguing). This time I arrived on time (and on a proper date), demonstrated my works and talked to the wonderful members of the panel. However, by that time, I had already found and set up a studio in Kingston. So I sadly had no choice but to explain my inability to join Cockpit Arts as a full-time resident. Of course, driving two hours each way through traffic to Deptford on a daily basis would be difficult to carry out while I have kids at school anyway. Still, it was a difficult decision, as I realised well the benefits for me as a craftsperson and a business start-up which the residency at Cockpit Arts would entail.

So here I was back again at Deptford Cockpit Arts but this time on a tour of leather makers studios in the context of London craft week. I met and saw works of a talented artist Charlie Laurie whose range of products and bespoke items is very elegant and smart. I talked to Yusuf Osman, a lawyer turned talented designer and leather craftsman and teacher. Then went to admire handstitched oak bark leather sculptures by Frances Pinnock, and met a well-recognised maker Harry Owen.

Leathersellers awards are a regular competition at Cockpit Arts. If you are a leather maker and want to feel and be part of a close-knit leather artisans community, to have access to a communal room full of industrial machines (splitter, clicking press, metallic elephant, skiver and more), work side by side with talented artists/craftsmen, and share your experience and perhaps work, have a go and apply for these awards and Cockpit Arts residency.