Cockpit Arts Open Studios

I finally made it to the Cockpit Arts Open Studios! I have been trying to get there for years, and despite various friends going (mostly to buy me presents!), I’ve never quite made it myself – until last weekend. And I wasn’t disappointed. It is bursting at the seams with talented designers and wonderful products – and the best bit about open studios is you get a little peek behind the scenes.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios

I never cease to be inspired by tools of other people’s trades and evidence of creativity. I’m always sad that designers tidy up so much for open studios, so it was nice to see a few glimpses of what happens when we’re not there.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Abigail Brown

I loved Abigail Brown‘s birds, especially that fabulous flamingo, and being a fan of creative spaces, I was rather taken with her desk too! I love the idea of personalising a traditional filing cabinet with floral prints.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Abigail Brown

I was also really interested to see this corner of Camilla Meijer‘s space, where you could see the whole creative process from sketches and fabric samples, to printing inks and the final cushions; all on one set of shelves. What a brilliant encapsulation of her work?!

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Camilla Meijer

And I love that lampshade!

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Carre Ducker

These feet, belonging to bespoke shoemakers Carre Ducker, were possibly my favourite specialist tools of the day. The wooden feet have small leather pieces added to them until they are exactly the same shape as the customer’s feet. They are then used to make perfectly tailored shoes. Carre Ducker keep all the feet, so when you need your next pair, you don’t need to be measured up again.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Clara Breen

Clara Breen makes incredibly intricate paper-cut jewellery like the piece above made from a map. It taps into our sentimental attachment to things like train tickets, maps, leaflets and concert tickets – making them into something permanent. And they’re safe to wear in the rain!

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Constructive Studio

These cushions by Constructive Studio caught my eye – they’re perfect for the confessions of a design geek colours!

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Fanny Shorter

Fanny Shorter‘s studio was another example of being able to trace the process from the screens, through these lovely birds showing each colour added in turn, right to the final cushions (in another design).

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Hunky Dory Furniture

Hunky Dory Furniture had this impressive display of the tools up on the wall – and I’m told I wasn’t the first to photograph them! They look so fabulous up there, it must almost seem a shame to take them down to use them.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Loli Cardenoso

I was very excited to spot this massive pottery kiln just tucked in next to all the lovely pots Loli Cardenoso has fired inside it. It must be really inspiring (if a little messy!) to work alongside people from different creative disciplines.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Shan Annabel Valla

I loved Shan Annabel Valla‘s makeshift display cabinets made from old packing crates. I’m tempted to try something similar at home on a more permanent basis, but it’s a really clever solution for quickly turning a work space into an exhibiting space, and the rough edges contrast beautifully with the shiny white and gold of her products.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Sort

I love a bit of letterpress, so I was very excited to see Sort with his tiny letterpress studio, complete with several cabinets of type and printing presses. His witty products include a notebook with “problems” on the front and “solutions” on the back, and another one with “inspiration” and “creation”.

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Thornback and Peel

I hadn’t realised that Thornback and Peel were based at Cockpit, so it was a lovely surprise to see them too – in a slightly bigger studio than Sort’s, with some cunning curtains hiding all the working parts (much to my disappointment!).

Cockpit Arts Open Studios Yo Yo Ceramics

Having met Helen Johannessen of Yoyo Ceramics through the Southbank Centre’s Boost iniative, it was lovely to see her too – and to see a bit more of the workings of her space. I love her little white birds which interlock into each other. I also adored Johnette Taylor’s space where she creates leather goods for her brand nette, especially her mood boards (also in the first image).

Cockpit Arts Open Studios

Further reading for the especially geeky: