Make more of your gifts this Christ­mas with a trip to Ur­ban Mak­ers

Stray away from the norm when ac­quir­ing gifts this year with a visit to the Ur­ban Mak­ers

The Wharf - - Canary Wharf - Florence Der­rick NINA NOU MURI

Christ­mas shop­ping does not have to mean haul­ing your­self through the Ox­ford Street hoards, weighed down by shop­ping bags stuffed with the same masspro­duced trin­kets that you bought last year.

At the Ur­ban Mak­ers Christ­mas Mar­ket in Mile End Park, on Sat­ur­day, De­cem­ber 8 and 9, po­ten­tial pressies come in the form of lo­cally or hand­made jew­ellery, sta­tionery, art and home­ware.

“Ur­ban Mak­ers is a hand­made ur­ban mar­kets com­pany started in 2015,” said co-founder Ilka Dick­ins, who makes greet­ing cards, prints and home­ware for her com­pany Dick­ins Ink and set up Ur­ban Mak­ers with her jeweller friend Ju­lia Red­grove. We were meet­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent cre­atives mak­ing jew­ellery, art­work and home­ware at mar­kets we worked at, but there was noth­ing in east Lon­don at the time.

“The de­sign­ers we work with are all Lon­don based – mainly east and south-east Lon­don.”

Hav­ing kicked off the Christ­mas sea­son with a mar­ket at Here East, Strat­ford, on Novem­ber 28, the duo are pleased to an­nounce 50 de­sign­ers will be show­ing off their wares on each day of the week­end­long mar­ket in Mile End.

“We opened ap­pli­ca­tions in June and they closed in Au­gust and we’re over­sub­scribed,” she said.

So what can vis­i­tors ex­pect from a visit to Ur­ban Mak­ers Christ­mas Mar­ket?

“We al­ways have a fes­tive playlist on and dec­o­ra­tions up,” said Ilka.

“The Ecol­ogy Pavil­ion at Mile End is a re­ally lovely venue that over­looks Mile End Park, with lovely reed beds at the front.

“Last Christ­mas we had a re­ally crisp and clear Sat­ur­day so the views were lovely. On the Sun­day it was snow­ing, so that was beau­ti­ful.”

It is not just stalls stacked with hand­made gifts on of­fer. Vis­i­tors can take part in work­shops like Origami 4 Fun, which teaches fold-yourown origami Christ­mas or­na­ments tech­niques for free, or a Fizz Pop Sci­ence glit­tery slime-mak­ing work­shop for kids.

“There are a lot of fam­i­lies round here so we have a mix of ac­tiv­i­ties for dif­fer­ent ages,” Ilka said.

On the Sat­ur­day, The DIY Tribe will host a se­quin-span­gled, sewing and em­broi­dery work­shop for adults and chil­dren over seven, while Ital­ian artist Naomi Vona will demon­strate how to dec­o­rate pa­per boxes, gift tags, dec­o­ra­tions and cards in a work­shop on the Sun­day.

Plus, the ven­dors at Ur­ban Mak­ers Feast will be mulling wine, mix­ing win­ter cock­tails and serv­ing cof­fee and cakes to keep shop­pers warm and en­er­gised. So far, so fes­tive – so let’s take a look at some of the de­sign­ers and stalls to look out for.

For an­i­mal magic

“Maybe it was all those trips to Lon­don Zoo as a child, maybe the woolly lion jumper I had when I was three, but I just can’t help but draw an­i­mals,” said de­signer Nina Dog­metchi, whose col­lec­tion of il­lus­tra­tions add up to a pas­tel paint-splat­tered Noah’s Ark.

In fact, the Royal Col­lege of Art-trained de­signer col­lab­o­rated with Lon­don Zoo in a se­ries of il­lus­tra­tions of the world’s most en­dan­gered species and her art prints for chil­dren’s bed­rooms aim to im­part her love for the nat­u­ral world.

Hav­ing worked in­ter­na­tion­ally for Puma and Adi­das, Nina now draws from a small stu­dio in Hack­ney and cre­ates printed cards, totes and blan­kets as well.

“She makes a bit of ev­ery­thing,” said Ilka. “It’s al­ways so colour­ful and beau­ti­ful with so much va­ri­ety; pas­tel colours blended to­gether re­ally well. The other day she was sell­ing stuffed sausage dogs. Sausage dog own­ers loved them.” Go to ni­nanou.co.uk for more in­for­ma­tion

For fes­tive fra­grances

The scent of Christ­mas comes in the form of ve­gan soy wax can­dles from Muri, hand­made by de­signer Mar­i­anne Trotta from her East Lon­don home.

Ur­ban Mak­ers, in­clud­ing Mary-Ann Ave­line of Hello Mar­ilu will be sell­ing their wares in Mile End Park Nina Dog­metchi of Nina Nou

A di­nosaur or­na­ment de­signed by Mar­i­anne Trotta for Muri

A Nina Nou an­i­mal-printed throw

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