Weekends of 2/3 and 9/10 December 1995
For the first two weekends in December, more than 50 studios throughout Hackney will be open to the public, allowing visitors a rare glimpse behind the scenes and an opportunity to buy unique gifts or to commission work directly. All the studios produce work for interiors and architectural projects.
Eleven of the participants are members of the Hackney Contemporaries – a group of talented designer-makers who live or work in the borough. They aim to draw attention to the high quality and originality of their work within the varied and fascinating urban culture of Hackney itself. Visitors will also have the chance to see the work of many of the designers and makers listed in the Kingsland Corridor Furniture Trade Directory (launched recently by Dalston City Partnership) as well as those on the Hackney decorative arts, interiors and furniture database (recently initiated with support from Hackney Task Force). Work includes ceramic vessels, bowls and pots, wooden furniture and accessories, handgilded mirrors, metal clocks, candlesticks and sculpture, porcelain buttons, cushions and kilims. Prices range from £5 to £2000.
Small factories and workshops in London’s East End have been producing work ranging from finely carved chairs to simple furniture for over 160/years, and the area is now becoming internationally recognised as an important centre of creativity. In the last 20 years many of its traditional workshops have been converted into studios for the new generation of designers and makers. Today Hackney has more designers, artists and craftsmen involved in the cultural industries than any other borough in London, and probably in Europe.
Throughout the two weekends, visitors interested in local history, art and architecture can choose from twelve half-day guided tours around studios and places of interest in Hackney and Stoke Newington. A special experience at this time of year is to visit the Geffrye Museum’s collection of domestic interiors dating from the 17th century to the present day, the period rooms are all decorated for the festive season to bring 400 years of Christmas tradition to life. Or visit Sutton House, built in 1535 for a courtier of Henry Vill. Stroll through one of London’s grandest Victorian cemeteries at Abney Park, laid out as an arboretum and now a nature reserve. Pick up a bargain at Burberry’s Factory Shop in Chatham Place, or stop for lunch in Stoke Newington Church Street.
The tours start from the Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road, E2. All tours last 3 hours and will visit several studios and places of interest. Further information on the participating studios and the tours can be obtained from the Hidden Art of Hackney hotline on 0181 986 3649 or contact the Hackney Tourist Information Centre, Hackney Museum, Mare Street, London E8 (0181 986 6914) for an information pack which includes themed leaflets about Hackney, Hackney walks and the Hidden Art of Hackney Programme.
There will also be the opportunity of viewing a borough-wide exhibition of artwork by pupils from 14 Hackney primary and secondary schools, including GNVQ and A level students. The exhibition is based upon observation of artists in their studios and on the interiors and architecture of seven historic buildings in the area. The work will be exhibited at artist’s studios, Dalston Cross Shopping Centre, the Geffrye Museum, Hackney Museum, St. John the Baptist Church and Sutton House, as well as on board the 73 and 38 Leaside buses. This project has been developed with Hackney Education Business Partnership.