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
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