Open Studios at Pullens Yards this December
WHEN: Friday 6 – Sunday 8 December, 2019
WHERE: Pullens Yards, just off Walworth Road, SE17 3QA
COST: Free – just turn up and enjoy!
Ever wondered what creative talent can be found inside the historic workspaces that make up Pullens Yards, in the heart of Elephant & Castle? Well, this December you can meet the community of artists, craftspeople and designer-makers at the next instalment of the Pullens Yards Open Studios.
Pullens Yards – which consists of three yards, Iliffe, Peacock and Clements – has been a place of creativity and design for 120 years. Built with designers in mind in the late 1880s, by local builder James Pullen, it has always housed craftspeople.
From Friday 6 to Sunday 8 December, visitors can step inside Pullens Yards to meet the many designers and makers in their studios, buy something truly original and handmade, and find out about the techniques being used – some of which date back to the days of Queen Victoria. The free event is a great day out, with workshops for children and adults to take part in and an array of food and drink stalls.
More than 60 studios will be taking part in the event, displaying an impressive range of work from artists and artist-makers, ceramicists, illustrators, filmmakers, jewellers, printmakers, furniture makers and many more creative individuals.
Pullens Yards first opened its gates to the public in 1990, after resident artists Simon Hiscock, Angela Lucas and Peter Massingham decided to showcase the vast range of skills and talent in this creative corner of south London. The inaugural event was part of the Whitechapel Open – a long-running exhibition showcasing London artists’ work – but, over the years, Open Studios has evolved into an independent, bi-annual event, with summer and winter showings.
Recently, the three-day event has had the support of resident design agency Atelier Works. Formerly based in Kentish Town, the company learned about Pullens Yards after working with an architect who was based there – and, when the opportunity arose, it didn’t hesitate to move to the creative hub. The forward-thinking Atelier Works team has provided marketing support to the event for the past five years., and graphic designer Quentin Newark says it has been a pleasure to play a part in Open Studios.
“We got involved because we wanted to support the people at Pullens Yards,” he adds. “When we encountered the yard for the first time, we just thought ‘wow’, what a magical place. There’s a fantastic community here and just so many creative people in one place, who have all come together quite organically.
“It can be very hard to find a life where you’re paid for making things, but the people who make up Pullens Yards have found that – and are maintaining it. We think that’s a precious and wonderful thing, which is why we’re happy to help promote Open Studios as much as we can.”
As well as the Pullens Yards exhibitors, other craftspeople are welcome to take part in the event, which adds to the variety of Open Studios, says Newark. “In the past, we’ve welcomed weavers, a beekeeper, jam, soap and book makers, and local Elephant & Castle brewery Orbit Beers.
“I don’t think there are any other Open Studios of this scale in the country. For sheer consistency and variety, Pullens Yards is the one.”
So, if you’re looking for some original Christmas presents – or just fancy seeing the many treasures being made on a daily basis in these historic yards – step across the cobbles for the Pullens Yards Winter Open Studios.
For more information about Pullens Yards Open Studios, visit www.pullensopen.org
One Pullens Yards resident who will be opening up his workshop to the public is Stephen Bull. A building contractor specialising in the conservation and repair of historic buildings, he has been taking part in Open Studios for the past five years, both as an organiser and an exhibitor.
“I take part for the community spirit,” Bull explains. “As a building contractor, I have nothing to sell from my workshop; I open simply so people can take a look inside, see some of the tools that I work with, and talk about the traditional materials and methods I use.
“Open Studios is a great opportunity to meet the many makers working in and around this part of London. We are all working on this year’s Christmas event, which looks as though it’s going to be as successful as previous years.”