Peckham Craft Show is an annual celebration of craft taking place 9th-12th May, hosted at Copeland Gallery.

What is Peckham Craft Show?

Peckham Craft Show is a celebration of modern craft. Taking craft out of the trade fair and market stool setting, Craft Show showcases the work of 50 makers with a 4 day exhibition alongside a series of workshops.

How did the idea come about?

Traditionally the structure of a craft event is a market stall set up, where makers put lots of their work onto tables, stand behind it and their work stands alone, not allowed to interact with the other makers work in the room. We wanted to give makers an opportunity to showcase their work in a setting more aligned with how it would look in a home and give work the space it needs to be fully appreciated. This meant curating beautiful still-lifes and vistas that mixed different makers works together.

Instagram is a big and strange part of modern craft and we’ve always been fascinated by that. Craft is so much about the touch and feel of an object, it seems like a disconnect to us that we spend so much of our time looking at little square images of it and not interacting with craft physically. We thought many people might feel the same and an exhibition felt like a good start. We wanted to be able to offer an opportunity for makers to meet in real life and chat about their life as a maker, as well as meeting the public. The first show was a real eye opener; we saw makers running up to each other who’d been chatting online for years and had never met – we think there’ll be even more of that this year. There have been craft collaborations that came about through the show too, which we’ve watched unfold on Instagram – so our craft voyeurism continues.

We like the idea that Craft Show is an annual event that makers look forward to; that it gives them the opportunity to show some of their more experimental and less commercial pieces, and meet up with after craftspeople. We also love to support emerging makers that may find it hard to get a spot at some of the more established fairs because they don’t have websites and professional images. Craft Show gives them a deadline to finish that project they’ve been working on and get it out there is the world, and then they have a bunch of images from the most beautiful show!

Who are the team behind it?

The show is organised and curated by two Peckham makers – Chloe Phelps and Rachael Pilston (and some very lovely volunteers during the show).

How did you meet and started working together?

We met at university studying textile design and have been sharing a studio space in the Bussey Building ever since.

Chloe makes knitted and embroidered textiles, and is really interested in using local, sustainable and re-purposed fibres; finding balance and calm through harmonious compositions of colour and texture. Making is very much an evening and weekend affair these days, Chloe’s day job is at The New Craftsmen where she works with interior designers to encourage the use of craft in their projects and support them to commission craftspeople.

Rachael is a freelance textile artist, using natural dye and patchwork on all sorts of fun projects from bespoke quilt commissions to props for film and TV. Interested in the thought behind all forms of making, she is also a craft theory lecturer and part of the team at Anna Jones – the food writer and stylist.

Why Peckham?

We have had a studio in Peckham since graduating our textile design course. We moved into a beautiful studio with a pink door on the fourth floor of the Bussey Building and ever since we have been revelling in it’s wealth of makers just doing their thing.

There are so few studio spaces south of the river it means that Copeland Park is such a hub for craftspeople, artists and makers of all kinds. We love being part of a community and couldn’t imagine putting on the show anywhere else. For us, it was also really important to bring London Craft Week to Peckham as so many of the events are so west London and partnered with luxury brands. For us, craft is joyful, accessible and more about the makers and the act of making than the expensive products.

What are you most proud of from previous Peckham Craft Shows?

We are always proud that we’ve managed to put something so beautiful together and to have filled a room with such a mixture of wonderful makers. It really is amazing to dream up and then be able to create the beautiful, calm space we had imagined.

Our proudest moments are always the little interactions we see over the weekend; two makers who’ve admired each others work for years finally meeting in real life, many hands all working to make one piece of textiles or helping a new maker see one of their big pieces going to a new home.

How long does Peckham Craft Show take to put together?

We started planning this year’s show as soon as we’d finished uninstalling the last one. Organising the show has to squeeze in alongside by our own creative practices and our busy work schedules, but it is such a pleasure and a privilege to work on that we make it work. The last couple of months leading up to the show tend to be all consuming, it becomes our sole focus and we really get into the swing of things.

Any highlights to look forward to this year?

This year, we’ve got so many highlights to look out for. Alongside our usual programme of workshops with our brilliant makers, we are hosting our first a panel talk. Makers Lydia Morrow, Christabel Balfour will be chatting to the wonderful team behind Soft Thoughts podcast, Ruby and Jean. The evening, titled ‘Unravelling Connections’, is set to be a winding discussion on everything textiles.

We’re also super excited to be working with Kat Argent of Wallflower Peckham on a beautiful installation for the exhibition space. Kat will be bringing the gallery to life with thoughtful floral arrangements and a dramatic centrepiece that merges craft, floristry and a whole lot of concrete.

Tell us about anything we should know.

You can still book onto some of the workshops, there are a few places left. We’d love to see you there.