After a few hours of wandering wide-eyed between the stands at the East London Design Show, advice you start to wonder why anyone would ever go to Oxford Street for their Christmas shopping. The event, viagra sale running since 1994, claims to be London’s ‘alternative department store’, but the East London Design Show is much more innovative than any High Street I’ve ever visited. Not to mention that it offers a range of affordable, unique products – from illustrators, jewellers and designers of furniture, fashion, homeware and beyond.
This was also the big night for Helen Edwards, who was launching her new print publishing company, East End Prints. Having run pop-up shops through the East End Arts Club for the past four years, she is now taking her love for print to the next level.
Skull, by Bangkokney Belle
‘With East End Prints I have curated a collection of work. I get to source it, I publish it, and I am much more in control of the outcome,’ says Helen. ‘At the East End Arts Club we would send out briefs to artists, and get varying quality work back, if that doesn’t sound too harsh,’ she laughs. Over 100 prints from 40 emerging as well as established printmakers are available from the shop, representing Helen’s favourites from her ten years in the industry. ‘I gained a lot of loyalty from working with the Arts Club. It’s a two-way symbiotic relationship, working with artists.’
Found reds, Anthony Zionos
Prints start at £25. ‘I believe in art for all, so I wanted to make it affordable. I also wanted to give the works longevity, so many have open-ended print runs.’ The works in the collection are very varied, but Helen says she doesn’t like ‘grotesque’ art; ‘You have to live with it on your wall, don’t you. I believe art should have humour. I like the fun and edgy stuff.’
Rock out!, by Anthony Peters
A wander around the East London Design Show means discovering one treasure after another. With many local London designers present, the love for this city is clear in many of the works, such as Vic Lee’s intriguing prints of London neighbourhoods. ‘People Will Always Need Plates’ has a range of kitchen wares with elegant industrial motifs, while Natalie Reed’s ‘Little Object’ encompasses stunning, very simple silver jewellery. I was also drawn to the Reiko Kaneko stall, displaying a very clever range of handmade bone china from Staffordshire. Adding to the unusual and crockery was a selection of Christmas baubles so excellent I might just have to get a tree to have an excuse to buy them.
The Anonymous Shop also displayed a clever range of Christmas cards, as well as printed soft furnishing. One of its themes was the‘Yorkshire nectar’, an idea stemming from designer Alex’s great-great grandfather. His idea of a moment of bliss was a quiet pint of bitter, explained Alex. But we will each have our own idea of what makes our Yorkshire nectar, said Alex, be it a quiet drink, going to the theatre or just a walk. Sounds like a good recipe for holiday bliss to me.
For your pleasure, by Amy Douglas
Visit East End Prints online, or at this weekend’s East London Design Show, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1. East End Prints is running a pop-up shop between 9th and 12th December at Maiden, 188 Shoreditch High Street, London E1. For more information see our listing.
- East London Design Show: Christmas Gift Ideas 2013
- Graphic love: Outline Editions expands Soho pop-up shop with ‘Love in the Forest’
- My Big Fat Royal Wedding with East End Prints at Maiden
- East End Prints: an interview with Helen Edwards
- Fashion Listings