Let's Meet: London Craft Club

This month we got to have a little chat with Sonia from London Craft Club.  We are going to a Friday Late at London Transport Museum next month where she will be making your Oyster card holder look extra special for their late night opening event.  But mostly London Craft club runs workshops and meet-ups around London and their new venue - see below.  They will also be at The Handmade fair, so plenty of places to find them.  So let's hear what Sonia has to say about our random questions!

What was the first thing you remember making?
I’m not sure exactly, butt I remember a very early craft fail, one of my first and most instructional ones! I must have been about ten, and I wanted this denim A-line skirt that my best friend had. Being quite a single minded child, I persuaded my mum that I could make this skirt and that she should buy me some fabric, which she duly did. I drew a skirt shape on the fabric, cut it out, sewed it together and ended up with something that I could get one leg in. It was a revelation - I learned that measuring is really important!

How did you find your creative side?
I was always the one who could untangle tiny knots, or do the fiddliest task, even from when I was very small, so it was dexterity that led to me to making things, and experimenting with different materials was what brought out the creative side in me. But my family and friends were creative and I was always been encouraged. My granny was an artist and glass engraver, and really force of nature, and she was very influential in my early creative life.

What has been your favourite ever make? Whether that be for your business or pleasure – tell us about it.
My favourite make ever….
I studied Fine Art and when I left, my first major post college art exhibition was at a gallery called Mellow Birds in Old Street. I hung a huge static disco ball in the centre of a dark room and shone a light on it. For every spot of light the ball cast, I folded a paper box and stuck it on the wall to hold the spot of light. It took months to fold all the boxes and a good few all-nighters to install a couple of thousand boxes but the effect was well worth it. It was also a lesson seemingly insurmountable tasks are acutely achievable with sheer perseverance.

Photo by Sonia Bruce (Bownes) Untitled 1999 at Mellow Birds Gallery
What are your favourite ways to stay inspired?
What, apart from Pinterest? Talking to people! It can be quite isolated working on the admin and business of London Craft Club, and I always find the second I meet other makers, my ideas brain goes into overdrive with sheer excitement to be talking about ideas again!

Who are your favourite Designer/Makers right now?
I’m a bit obsessed with Rhiannon Palmer’s concrete jewellery at the moment, and I’m also stalking Ash and Coco on Instagram. There’s a cotton black and white jumper that I would love to make on there, I’m so into the late 90s movie-villain minimalist thing at the moment.

What crafty item is top of your wish list?
Well I have an over locker, which for years I lusted over, and I have three pairs of shredding scissors which was my most recent gadget crush. At the moment it would be more studio lights or an overhead arm tripod for my camera because I’m doing tons of photography. Ultimately what I hanker after most is a really huge dedicated crafting studio with beautiful natural light.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love science – I like to listen to a podcast like the Digital Human, or the Infinite Monkey Cage, or watching Brian Cox or the Sky at Night.  Science seems so creative, and full of really passionate people who have become obsessively and wildly into the details of what they do. Like crafters….

Concrete Pendant by Rhiannon Palmer Jewellery
Tell us a bit about what you have coming up?  Any little projects you want to tell us about.
I’m in the process of curating a fantastic programme of workshops, taught by my favourite guest crafters in London Craft Club’s new venue. The workshops include casting concrete jewellery, knitting very covetable accessories, designing great motifs, an alternative Christmas cards session and much more, It’s the most fun thing I’ve done, picking all the gorgeous things I lust over and skills I want to learn, and organising it all into a great programme! It’s a change from teaching and making everything myself, but it seems like the right time for lots of fresh new stuff for the club, which is growing so fast. And I’m so pleased with the new regular venue, St Bride Foundation in Fleet St.  It’s really central, its’ a beautiful space and it’s stuffed with Fleet St’s news printing history so it feels really grounded its location. I’m doing a Kickstarter campaign to help secure the venue and teachers more than six months in advance, and to help me launch an exclusive Craft Kit of the Month, so it’s a really busy time – but it always is!!!

Phew! Sonia has a lot going on and we definitely want to see that workshop space when she is in.  That concrete necklace workshop looks like a must too!  I want that disco ball in my life too!  What a great uni project to do, I can bet it didn't feel like it halfway through, but worth it in the end.

Might be a little in love with Rhiannon Palmer's work too - oops.

Really looking forward to meeting in person on September 11th and of course pimping up our oyster holder!

H & Sammy

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