Don’t forget our world first! Courtesy of Architonic, you can still see on the dedicated apps and the Virtual Showroom on the lightjunction web site details of everything that you saw — or missed — at lightjunction and designjunction this year.
Why is designjunction so exciting, so buzzy — so unlike a typical trade fair? A significant reason must be the ground floor, where (amongst many other things) craftspeople are selling their wares. Not only do you get to see — and buy — what they do, but you also get the chance to meet them.
Two that we loved involved rabbits and sheep.
The rabbits are courtesy of Jo Robinson of Hammade. Besides rabbits, she features pigs…
They are charming and endearing, without being twee or childish. As befits a country girl, Jo respects the animals: we observe them quietly, unselfconsciously, entertaining themselves. Do go to her web site, to see the collections of prints, mugs, cards and tea towels, and to find out where she is exhibiting next.
Whereas the sheep at designjunction came courtesy of Adam Atkinson of Cherchbi.
Like me, he is from Kendal. He happened to see a story in the Westmorland Gazette about herdwick sheep fleeces being burnt by farmers because no-one wanted to buy them. By any standard, this would be a shocking waste, but in this case it is far, far worse. The life of a hill farmer is extremely hard. If they can’t sell what they produce, they will go out of business. That would not only mean the end of centuries of tradition, it would also change the landscape of the fells for ever: they are like they are because of the sheep that graze on them.
Adam felt that there had to be a better way. So began several years of research, during which he put together skilled traditional craftspeople who could take the herdwick wool and turn it into a material that would be ideal for bags, luggage, &c.
The wool from the Lakeland fells is spun in Donegal, woven in Pembrokeshire and waterproof-bonded in Oldham. The result is some seriously desirable items, such as this Blake overnight bag:
Check out the web site to see the full range of holdalls, tablet covers, haversacks and library totes.
I particularly covet the “Barrett Flap Brief” briefcase. Not only is it made out the herdwick tweed, it is also based on a music case. As a musician I’ve never understand why a briefcase could not share with a music case an opening/closing system as secure and as easy to use with one hand.
Here’s a close-up of some of the materials used. Besides the herdwick tweed, these include vegetable-tanned English saddle leather, brass zips and fastenings, cotton and linen — all locally sourced, natural and sustainable.
If you get the chance to meet Jo or Adam, do. Besides the extra dimension you get from knowing who made what you are using, Jo is as charming as her images are, and Adam is not just a Kendalian like me, he is also tall and ruggedly handsome like me.
Best of all, you can buy from their web sites. Can you imagine better sources for Christmas presents? I know I can’t.
Note: Ham is not in the Virtual Showroom but Cherchbi is.