This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 23/04/2018.
Croydon’s creative makers and shakers take over Boxpark in May
Made in Croydon is a collective of artists, designers and creative manufacturers who are inspired by living or creating in Croydon. It started, as so many good ideas do, over a cup of coffee.
From an idea in our heads – wouldn’t it be great to showcase all the fantastic creative work going on within the borough and help find new markets and audiences for it? – Made in Croydon has now grown to a network of several hundred members. We organise social meet-ups where members can meet and share ideas about their work, as well as markets where they can share the actual work with the buying public.
The next market will be in Boxpark on Sunday 27th May from 11am to 5pm and will feature some of the cool makers and shakers who make up this thriving professional artistic community. People such as:
Gavin Kinch: the founder of The Town That Love Built describes his business as like falling asleep and “when I woke up everything was spaceships, time travel and mid-century romance in a town bathed in glowing lights”. Explaining that he has always felt the need to do something creative, be that making music, furniture, art or mixtapes, today the felt marker has become an iPad, the boot-sale guitar a world tour, and the cassette tapes real records.
“I got a half-price drawing app for my iPad so I could always have something to be doing. When I started, these pictures offered me a quiet place to hide for a while, after which I had something to put up on the wall. Launching was getting a print run done just for my friends, assuming that I’d have twenty unopened posters sitting in my spare room forever. Parts of this little world now hang in hundreds of homes, businesses, colleges and libraries across the UK and my work can be seen all over Croydon. Business for me is simply a process which allows me to continue drawing, so I’m very grateful.”
His latest print series, which will be on sale at the MIC market in Boxpark in May, is called ‘London Mecha’ and explores the lives of mechanised citizens of early 20th-century London.
Paying tribute to the work done by Made in Croydon for the town’s creative community, he says: “No pivotal cultural movement has ever happened without momentum. We are all little individual dots until somebody comes along and joins those dots together, and suddenly we have a scene, we have movement, we are a force”.
Wesley Baker: CDN is a stylish clothing line inspired by the culture, people, history and landmarks of Croydon. Setting it up in 2012, Wesley’s imagination was fired by brands that were using clothing to put a city or town on the map – brands such as ‘I Love NY’, with its cutting-edge logo and desire to promote a positive image.
“We’re all creatives and as children we express ourselves through drawing and singing – it’s something that just never left me. As a shy only child it was a great way for me to express my imagination and this is why I still love being able to draw.”
Wes has also started experimenting with the traditional print methods he learned at college and is setting up a screen-printing studio at Croydon’s First Floor Space, as well as taking part in markets on Surrey Street and in Thornton Heath, and hosting a pop-up at the Snake and Mongoose juice baron London Road. Future plans include new t-shirts and range extensions for CDN A/W season.
“Made In Croydon gave me the opportunity to put my brand in front of the very audience I wanted and needed. It’s a real confidence booster being able to meet customers face to face, to get feedback and encouragement from fellow Croydon folk and sales. Before then I’d never had a stall anywhere and it left me wanting to do more. On top of that, there’s the social events and you gain friends and a much stronger community of creatives as the MIC family have shown what can be done.”
Heidi Harrington is a ceramics maker who turns photography into screen prints on kitchenware – plates and bowls – as well as decorative accessories like wall pieces and vases. Her images are inspired by the movement and stillness in nature, as well as local landscapes such as Croham Hurst. From her hometown of Croydon, her work has travelled all over the world, featuring in galleries and exhibitions at home and abroad. While she is out of Croydon for the upcoming market, you can see her work at future events and on her website.
“I think that I have always been a maker of some sort. My favourite thing as a child was having a box full of different materials to make things out of, and whittling wood in the back garden. I studied an art foundation course, discovered clay and haven’t stopped since!”
Future plans include extending her accessories and kitchenware range in the coming months, as well as setting up ceramics and print classes. For more information, sign up to Heidi’s mailing list here.
“Made in Croydon has given me an outlet to sell my work directly to local people through its markets. The group is a great platform for championing artists and makers locally and I’m really happy to see new developments in the arts in Croydon. We have always had lots of creative talent here, but not necessarily the infrastructure to support it, and to see the creative side of Croydon blossoming is fantastic. I hope that it continues.”