September 27, 2007
London shopping: Fabrications
Carrying on from my raving craft post is this charming little shop in the heart of ever-hip Broadway Market in London’s East End, which if anything, supports my new motto, “Craft is Cool, OK”? (Maybe I should run up some screen-printed t-shirts in bold black type, Katharine Hamnett-style…)
Fabrications is alternately an artist-run gallery, shop and studio for in-house designer Barley Massey. It stocks an excellent range of unique, eco-friendly products and homewares that are hand-crafted by local artists and designers.
One wall of the shop features displays of quirky greeting cards, stationery and badges made by Hackney locals, accompanied by a profile on each artist. Keep an eye out for Lucy Jane Batchelor’s sweet retro-style range including tooth fairy envelope cards for children and her clever Missing Button badges.
The nice thing about Fabrications is that stock is constantly updated, so you’re likely to find new quirky gems all the time. I like the fabric pouffes bound by knotted rope using traditional sea-faring techniques (£150) and The Old Broad Bean (the Queen) Cockney jewellery, featuring faces of the royal family (and er, Dodi) on dried beans. Prices range from £3 for a badge to £30 for a necklace or cufflinks.
The other highlight of the shop is the wall of rainbow-coloured yarns (wools for winter and cottons for summer) and a small range of vintage yarn and hand-spun yarn with lanolin. There is also a wide variety of knitting and sewing supplies, including super-sized knitting needles.
Beginners can get fully kitted out here, with knitting packs complete with instructions and a pack of wool, as well as customised sewing kits for £2.50 with basic embroidery stitches. Or you could join one of the regular knitting classes.
When I visited, I found vintage knitting patterns for babywear and some gorgeous ‘80s pattern books including designs by Jean Paul Gaultier and Alaia. I also like the cute knitted goodies, from traditional Bakewell tarts and “I heart Hackney” purses (British souvenir alert!) to potted cactuses (bonus: not prickly at all!).
Don’t leave Fabrications without checking out in-house textile designer Barley Massey’s ingenious range of eco-friendly homewares. Barley recycles materials and waste such as bicycle inner tubes and vintage shirt ties to create beautiful and long-lasting cushions, pouffes, rugs, mats and runners. Amongst many of her commissions was the infamous Lost Vagueness tent at Glastonbury in 2003. Just imagine: your own piece of fabulous festival fun at home (minus the mud).
7 Broadway Market
London E8 FPH
Tel. 0207 275 8043
Or call for appointment.
Nearest tube: Bethnal Green Station
Nearest train: London Fields BR