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Makers of East London, September 2015

This article was written 5 years ago.

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My second book, out in September, is now available to pre-order from Hoxton Mini Press.

Makers of East London tells the stories of 27 people who are making things from spoons to shoes, bells to bikes and chairs to chopping boards, in the heart of the capital, with stunning photography by the very talented Charlotte Schreiber.

With the focus on the rise of Silicon Roundabout and its technical hub in Old Street, in the background a quieter revolution is going on. A resurgence of craftspeople, equally deserving of attention, are breathing new life into traditional practices. My book takes an intimate look at the people behind the craft, their studios and their practices to see what it takes to be a maker in a world of increasing mass production. Charlotte and I gained unprecedented access into the workspaces of these makers, who tell the story of their vocation and share the passion, tradition and attention to detail that their craft stands for.

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We visited Steve McEwan in the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which has been in continuous service since 1570, casting everything from Big Ben to the Olympic Bell, and countless handbells in between. Ray at Hackney-based shoe factory Freed of London showed us how to produce the pointe ballet shoes that they’ve been making since 1929. And alongside traditional crafts, contemporary makers like Karen Hsu gave us behind the scenes access to her Pom Pom Factory, while Rob Court showed us how he mouth-blows neon lights.

With over 300 pages of colour photography and interviews, this hardback, clothbound, foil embossed book features ceramicists, bike builders, sign painters, globe makers, weavers, furniture designers, spoon carvers, shoe makers and more.

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