Charlotte Abrahams selects 40 designers for ‘Spotted’

Katie | January 16, 2017

Writer, curator and editor Charlotte Abrahams has selected 40 up-and-coming designers as part of Spotted, a showcase of the best creative talent in the UK during TopDrawer, London’s biannual home, gift, fashion and craft trade fair.

The 40 new design brands were selected for the originality and quality, but also the commercial viability of their products – the latter being very much part of exhibiting successfully at a trade show.

“Spotted just goes from strength to strength and this edition promises to be the most exciting yet,” says Charlotte. “There’s something for every Top Drawer sector from chic, modernist homewares and letterpress stationery to delicate filigree jewellery, handmade candles and fabulous floral shirts. There is so much creative talent in this country.”

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The selected designers include Chester-based stationery and homeware studio Laura Knight Studio, interior textiles brand Sarah Capel Printing, Brighton-based independent pottery studio Duck Ceramics, and garden furniture designers Denys & Fielding – run by two sisters neither of whom are called Denys or Fielding – the company is actually named after two gentlemen they met on a plane!

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Laura Knight Studio was established by the eponymous Nottingham Trent graduate. Laura design stationery, homewares and gifts inspired by imagery and pattern, materials and making processes and architecture and sculpture. “Our aim is to prove that colour and pattern can be simple, contemporary and minimal,” she says. “We design items which we ourselves would like to own and live with.”

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Sarah Capel Printing is an emerging homeware brand (launched in Autumn 2015) based in London. “A few years ago I discovered printmaking and undertook a range of courses exploring techniques from etching to lino printing before settling on screen printing,” says founder Sarah. “I love how screen printing enables me to combine a playful, spontaneous design with a clean and precise method of reproduction.” She prints onto soft, natural linen using eco-friendly solvent-free inks to create a range of homewares including dramatic extra-large lampshades that will be launched at TopDrawer.

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Originally founded in an attic room in Bristol by Alice Duck, Duck Ceramics is now based in Brighton, and celebrates the imperfection of the handmade. “The technique I use is called slip casting. Commercially this process is used, along with machines, to reproduce identical copies of one product – churning out hundreds of ‘perfect’ duplicates,” she explains. “There is something satisfying about imitating the machine – but with the ability to make every product individual. It might be a drunk mug, or a wonky vase, or the lines may not be as straight as they ‘should be’ but this is why I fell in love with handmade ceramics.”

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Denys & Fielding is a garden furniture brand with a “shoes off, feet up” ethos founded by two sisters after neither of them could find the perfect garden furniture, despite having very different homes – one bijou city pad and the other a country cottage. They describe their work as “harking back to a time when being outdoors felt opulent, indulgent and full of fun: the perfect pick-me-up after a hard day’s graft at the office.”

Watch out for our top picks from the show on the blog on Wednesday.

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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