The book is beautiful, there’s no doubt about that. The interviews open up a small window into different worlds that many of us know must exist, but have no knowledge of. The photography is stunning, whether it’s a close-cropped image of tools, or a wide shot of a workshop. Then of course there’s the makers themselves, staring down the camera or lost in thought, forgotten tool in hand.
The makers show a deep understanding of their craft, something only achievable through real dedication to the subject. They have immersed themselves in their worlds, bringing fantastic objects to life as the result. There is a worry amongst many of them however, of changing times, of rents going up, and of communities disappearing. Algha framemakers has been in their building for 100 years, but the landlord wants to convert it into flats next year. The business will go on, but they’ll have to find somewhere new to set up.
The introduction to the book comments on this, but they argue that everywhere, East London especially, is in a constant state of flux. There have always been movements of people into and out of the area.
“The Huguenot church on Brick Lane became a synagogue; today it is a mosque. The area is a palimpsest of cultures and crafts, a new layer of creativity introduced with each influx.”
It will always keep changing, so to survive businesses will have to adapt (and hope they don’t have an awful landlord).
Whilst I am so glad Hoxton Mini Press have created this book, I feel like the interviews are quite teasing. I want to know more about them, their process, what makes them do what they do. I guess to do so would have meant featuring fewer people, which which have been a shame. It’s almost like a starting block, an introduction to whet your appetite so you find out more on your own, even take up one of these crafts yourself. I know I would love to try them all! Perhaps Mini Hoxton press will do a more in-depth feature on a select few in the future, similar in size to their previous publications.
I honestly can’t pick a favourite from this book, they are all so fascinating. From Bellerby & Co. Globemakers, to Naomi Paul who creates crocheted lamps, and the first maker in the book, Andreas Hudelmayer who makes violins, violas and cellos. They’ve all been brought together in this beautifully designed book, and you definitely need it on your bookshelf.
You can buy it here.