Our Story

Who We Are In A Glance   

Hidden Art is an award-winning, not-for-profit organization that promotes and supports designers and makers. We spread the word about their work and offer the latest updates on the design world through frequent features on the Hidden Art Website.

We started out in 1989 and have since helped thousands of creatives in the sector transforming their passion into products. The Hidden Art E-shop is the place where design lovers can purchase great products from new and established names in the field. We mainly focus on UK-based, independent designers and makers. However, over the last years we were very glad to expand our product range by including creative talent from abroad.  Read how you can  join us and sell your work with us.

E-Shop designer Amanda Jane making her designs

E-Shop designer Amanda Jane making her designs

OUR STORY

Our story starts in 1989 when Dieneke Ferguson set up Mazorca in Hackney as a sole trader. Prior to that she worked in a not-for-profit company that promoted and assisted craftsmen from third world countries to sell their work internationally. This experience made her realise that there was a need to help crafts people at a local level to equip them with the skills to market their products locally, nationally and internationally.

She started with promoting and raising funds for a group of 14 designers and makers in Hackney – This group was called Hackney Contemporaries.

Hidden Art Open Studios 19941994

Hidden Art Open Studios 1994

It later grew and developed into an Open Studios event called Hidden Art of Hackney in 1994, initially only in Hackney but then also encompassing Tower Hamlets, Clerkenwell and later the whole of London. It then became Hidden Art.

This was the time that designers-makers in Hackney and East London were very hidden and visitors would not dare to visit Open Studios in East London. In order to help potential visitors we produced a map indicating the location of the studios as well as how to get there by bus and other means of transport. During some of the years we also organised tours which included a narrow boat.

Hidden Art Open Studios Map 1996

Hidden Art Open Studios Map 1996

While Hidden Art grew, so did the organisation as a whole and eventually we applied for more funding directly from Europe in addition to funding from individual boroughs and London.

To address the fact that not everyone was selling through Open Studios Hidden Art, we also expanded its marketing to trade fairs – Since 1995 we exhibited with selected designers at 100% Design uninterruptedly every year in September

Hidden Art at 100% Design, 1995 & 1997

Hidden Art at 100% Design, 1995 & 1997

and Milan during the Milan International Furniture Fair in April and in 2017 during 20 years of Salone Satelite Celebrations.

All Designers at Design London, Superstudio13, Milan 2004

Hidden Art Cornwall that was run by University College Falmouth became a focal point for designers and makers in Cornwall, which eventually resulted in an annual fair in Trereife, called the Cornwall Design Fair.

Hidden Art Cornwall Design Fair 2006

Hidden Art Cornwall Design Fair 2006, Coordinator Jessie Higginson with plates to be raffled

Hidden Art also began to help designers to develop their products which were then launched at 100% Design or in Milan and sold on the Hidden Art E-Shop through the Hidden Art Select brand.

Designers that designed products for the Hidden Art Select 2010 product development programme.

Linked to that there was a programme for kids, Hidden Art Select Kids which prior to that was called the Hidden Art Schools project

Hidden Art Select 2011 winners and runner-up at Awards Ceremony at UBS Investment Bank

which also involved a collaboration with St Petersburg

St Petersburg 2002, Russian School children participating in the exhibition

 

Room of My Dreams, 2017. St Petersburg judges. Guy Beggs and Dieneke Ferguson with Marina Lebedeva.

Room of My Dreams, 2017. St Petersburg judges. Guy Beggs and Dieneke Ferguson with Marina Lebedeva.

Hidden Art also ran an annual Awards ceremony for its members, Hidden Art Awards  

Hidden Art Awards 2009. Journalist Barbara Chandler handing out award to Michelle Mason at the Awards Ceremony.

Hidden Art Awards 2009. Journalist Barbara Chandler handing out award to Michelle Mason at the Awards Ceremony.

It also itself received numerous awards over the years including the 100% Design/Blueprint Award in 2005 for the best stand and the Dragon Award in 2010 received by the Lord Mayor of London in a special ceremony at Mansion Hall.

Dieneke Ferguson receives the Dragon Awards in 2010. Left the Lord Mayor, right Patsy Francis, UBS

We also ran international collaborations with other organisations.

We launched our new Hidden Art E-Shop in 2013 linking designers and makers with design lovers worldwide. In addition the Hidden Art website  provides news and information to design lovers, designers and makers.

Kostas and Donica, Launch of new Hidden Art E-Shop in July 2013

Kostas and Donica, Launch of new Hidden Art E-Shop in July 2013

Currently our core team consists of Dieneke Ferguson (Director), Manuel Ruiz-Adame (Finances), Annie Wu (Online Marketing) and Humzah Ahmed (IT and Online Connectivity). Donica Leung has designed our E-Shop in 2013 which is still going strong, and Kostas Koutoupis implemented many improvements since.

Hidden Art is now based in Tottenham Hale, and the office looks out on the Walthamstow Marshes. This is an up and coming area which is starting to attract designers, makers and others that are unable to afford the rents in other parts of London whilst working at Hidden Art.

Walthamstow Wetlands, July 2018

Walthamstow Wetlands, July 2018

Over the years we have helped thousands transform their passion into products and connect them with design lovers who appreciate their work.

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Chronology of Hidden Art.

Past Hidden Art Events