The Sloop Craft Market at Christmas
This is a collection of small workshops and studios where you can see the craftsmen (and women) at work, as well as buy their goods.
I went in December 2009, when few of the units were open but was still able to get a good selection of Christmas presents.
The units are in the car park behind The Sloop Inn. They are dog friendly.
About the Arts and Crafts movement:
Arts and Crafts was an international design movement that flourished between 1860 and 1910, especially in the second half of that period, continuing its influence until the 1930s. It was led by the artist and writer William Morris (1834–1896) during the 1860s, and was inspired by the writings of John Ruskin (1819–1900) and Augustus Pugin (1812–1852). It developed first and most fully in the British Isles, but spread to the rest of Europe and North America. It was largely a reaction against the impoverished state of the decorative arts at the time and the conditions in which they were produced. It stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often applied medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and has been said to be essentially anti-industrial.
The main developer of the Arts and Crafts style was William Morris (1834–1896), although the term “Arts and Crafts” was not coined until 1887, when it was first used by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson. Morris’s ideas were influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, of which he had been a part, and from his reading of John Ruskin. In 1861 Morris and some friends founded a company, Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., which, as supervised by the partners, designed and made decorative objects for homes, including wallpaper, textiles, furniture and stained glass. Later the company was re-formed as Morris & Co. In 1890 Morris established the Kelmscott Press, for which he designed a typeface based on Nicolas Jenson’s 15th-century letter forms. The press printed fine and de-luxe editions of contemporary and historical English literature and The Sloop Craft Market at Christmas.
The Red House, in Bexleyheath, London, designed for Morris in 1859 by architect Philip Webb, exemplifies the early Arts and Crafts style, with its well-proportioned solid forms, wide porches, steep roof, pointed window arches, brick fireplaces and wooden fittings. Webb rejected the grand classical style and based the design on British vernacular architecture expressing the texture of ordinary materials, such as stone and tiles, with an asymmetrical and quaint building composition.
Morris’s ideas spread during the late 19th and early 20th centuries resulting in the establishment of many associations and craft communities, although Morris was not involved with them because of his preoccupation with socialism. A hundred and thirty Arts and Crafts organisations were formed in Britain, most between 1895 and 1905.
The first page of The Nature of Gothic by John Ruskin, printed by William Morris at the Kelmscott Press in 1892 and set in the Golden type, inspired by the 15th century printer Nicolas Jenson
In 1881, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, Mary Fraser Tytler and others initiated the Home Arts and Industries Association to promote and protect rural handicrafts. In 1882, architect A.H.Mackmurdo formed the Century Guild, a partnership of designers including Selwyn Image, Herbert Horne, Clement Heaton and Benjamin Creswick. In 1884, the Art Workers Guild was initiated by five young architects, William Lethaby, Edward Prior, Ernest Newton, Mervyn Macartney and Gerald C. Horsley, with the goal of integrating design and making. It was directed originally by George Blackall Simonds. By 1890 the Guild had 150 members, representing the increasing number of practitioners of the Arts and Crafts style. At the same time the Arts and Craft aesthetic was copied by many designers of decorative products made by conventional industrial methods. The London department store Liberty & Co., founded in 1875, was a prominent retailer of goods in the style.
In 1885, the Birmingham School of Art became the first Municipal School of Art. The school became the leading centre for the Arts and Crafts movement with the help of people such as Henry Payne and Joseph Southall.
In 1887 the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society was formed with Walter Crane as president, holding its first exhibition in the New Gallery, London, in November 1888. It was the first show of contemporary decorative arts in London since the Grosvenor Gallery’s Winter Exhibition of 1881. Morris & Co. The Sloop Craft Market at Christmas was well represented in the exhibition with furniture, fabrics, carpets and embroideries. Edward Burne-Jones observed, “here for the first time one can measure a bit the change that has happened in the last twenty years”. The society still exists as the Society of Designer Craftsmen.
In 1888, C.R.Ashbee, a major late practitioner of the style in England, founded the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The guild was a craft co-operative modelled on the medieval guilds and intended to give working men satisfaction in their craftsmanship. Skilled craftsmen, working on the principles of Ruskin and Morris, were to produce hand-crafted goods and manage a school for apprentices. The idea was greeted with enthusiasm by almost everyone except Morris, who was by now involved with promoting socialism and thought Ashbee’s scheme trivial. From 1888 to 1902 the guild prospered, employing about 50 men. In 1902 Ashbee relocated the guild out of London to begin an experimental community in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds. The guild’s work is characterized by plain surfaces of hammered silver, flowing wirework and colored stones in simple settings. Ashbee designed jewellery and silver tableware. The guild flourished at Chipping Camden but did not prosper and was liquidated in 1908. Some craftsmen stayed, contributing to the tradition of modern craftsmanship in the area.
Charles Francis Annesley Voysey (1857–1941) was an Arts and Crafts architect who also designed fabrics, tiles, ceramics, furniture and metalwork. His style combined simplicity with sophistication. His wallpapers and textiles, featuring stylised bird and plant forms in bold outlines with flat colors, were used widely.
Morris’s ideas were adopted by the New Education philosophy in the late 1880s, which incorporated handicraft teaching in schools at Abbotsholme (1889) and Bedales (1892), and his influence has been noted in the social experiments of Dartington Hall during the mid-20th century and in the formation of the Crafts Council in 1973. Morris’s thought influenced the distributism of G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Morris & Co. traded until 1940. Its designs were sold by Sanderson and Co. and some are still in production.
The Central School of Arts and Crafts, founded in 1896 by the London County Council, with Lethaby and George Frampton as its first principals, was influenced by the Arts and Crafts philosophy, as was the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts founded shortly after. Walter Crane became head of the Royal College of Art in 1898 and tried to reform it and to introduced practical crafts, but resigned after a year. However, under Augustus Spencer, its curriculum was eventually reformed and Lethaby was brought in to head its school of design.
The London suburb of Bedford Park, built mainly in the 1880s and 1890s, has about 360 Arts and Crafts style houses and was once famous for the its Aesthetic residents. Several Almshouses were built in the Arts and Crafts style, for example, Whiteley Village, Surrey, built between 1914 and 1917, with over 280 buildings, and the Dyers Almshouses, Sussex, built between 1939 and 1971.
The movement spread to Ireland, representing an important time for the nation’s cultural development, a visual counterpart to the literary revival of the same time and was a publication of Irish nationalism. The Arts and Crafts use of stained glass was popular in Ireland, with Harry Clarke the best-known artist and also with Evie Hone. The architecture of the style is represented by the Honan Chapel (1916) in Cork in the grounds of University College Cork. Other architects practicing in Ireland included Sir Edwin Lutyens (Heywood House in Co. Laois, Lambay Island and the Irish National War Memorial Gardens in Dublin) and Frederick ‘Pa’ Hicks (Malahide Castle estate buildings and round tower). Irish Celtic motifs were popular with the movement in silvercraft, carpet design, book illustrations and hand-carved furniture.
The beginnings of the Arts and Crafts movement in Scotland were in the stained glass revival of the 1850s, pioneered by James Ballantine (1808–77). His major works included the great west window of Dunfermline Abbey and the scheme for St. Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. In Glasgow it was pioneered by Daniel Cottier (1838–91), who had probably studied with Ballantine, and was directly influenced by William Morris, Ford Madox Brown and John Ruskin. His key works included the Baptism of Christ in Paisley Abbey, (c. 1880). His followers included Stephen Adam and his son of the same name. The Glasgow-born designer and theorist Christopher Dresser (1834–1904) was one of the first, and most important, independent designers, a pivotal figure in the Aesthetic Movement and a major contributor to the allied Anglo-Japanese movement. The movement had an “extraordinary flowering” in Scotland where it was represented by the development of the ‘Glasgow Style’ which was based on the talent of the Glasgow School of Art. Celtic revival took hold here, and motifs such as the Glasgow rose became popularised. Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art were to influence others worldwide.