A couple of months ago, I ventured down to Cockpit Arts in Deptford for their summer open studios.
Cockpit Arts (CA) is a social enterprise and creative business incubator for creatives. Home to around 170 independent businesses at centres in Deptford and Holborn, CA supports artists and makers, often at the beginning of their careers, to build successful businesses.
There is a real diverse community of makers from weavers to ceramicists, silversmiths to milliners.
The open studios take place twice a year, giving members of the public a chance to see behind the scenes and meet the makers, so I took to the opportunity to go to the Deptford studios.
There is so much inspiring work on show. Particular highlights include, Eleanor Pritchard, a woven textiles business I first discovered through spotting a couple of her blankets in the Margaret Howell shop on Wigmore St.
Her designs are very mid-century and the wool has a sort of rustic beauty about it. Her seconds sale was incredibly tempting!
I was really impressed with the work of Eleanor Lakelin, a wood worker who uses only trees that have been felled in the British Isles to create very unique and beautiful, free-form vessels.
Since opening in 1986 CA has supported thousands of makers to grow their businesses. It’s incubation and social enterprise model is an innovative way to support the creative arts.
For me, Cockpit Arts illustrates the different career paths that exist for artists/makers working in London, and it’s definitely an option that I think all young designer makers should be aware of.